MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It was a big weekend for hockey in Minnesota; and the athletes that took part weren’t only playing to win, they were playing to help a wounded player.
This year’s Hockey Blast Minnesota, which took place Sunday, benefited Jack Jablonski, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s student who suffered a paralyzing injury after being checked into the boards last month.
Mario Zattoni, a friend of Jablonski, helped organize Sunday’s event. He said the turnout highlights the type of guy Jablonski is.
“He brought everyone together,” Zattoni said. “It’s sad it takes something like that to bring everyone together, but it’s great everyone is together and supporting Jack.”
Jablonski’s father, Mike Jablonski, said the money raised will be used for his son’s rehabilitation.
“Hopefully the next time we have a pond hockey tournament he’ll be out here with us, playing hockey,” he said.
The teams that played in the event weren’t just from the Twin Cities, some came from as far away as St. Cloud and Fargo.
On Saturday, Fox Sports North (FSN) featured Jablonski’s story during a telethon. And for the first time in six years, Hockey Day Minnesota’s high school tournament had to be indoors because of the effect warm weather has had on the ice. During the tournament, students from Benilde-St. Margaret’s sold bracelets to help raise money for Jablonski’s family.
Jablonski told FSN he doesn’t care if he walks again, he just wants to skate.
“I will skate again,” he said. “I want to get back in my red knight jersey; that is my goal.”
Fundraising efforts from the FSN telethon and Sunday’s tournament collected nearly $200,000 for the Jablonski family.