ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — Dressed in his team colors, Jack Jablonski quietly returned to his home arena, the St. Louis Park Recreation Center, now gliding along in a power chair protected by a halo instead of helmet.

It was the first time Jablonski had been back to the arena since his devastating injury. He was back to support his Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights as they faced Holy Family Catholic in the section playoffs.

“I saw like an entourage of people of people walking around him, and I saw the halo and then I knew it was Jack,” said Mike Mahoney, a senior at Benilde St. Margaret’s.

Neither fans nor teammates knew he’d return to the place he was paralyzed. Jack and his family concocted a plan to surprise his teammates at their sectional game.

“It must be really tough for him to come in here, see the ice and miss it so much,” said Maddie Houlihan, a freshman. She was one of the few students in the pre-game crowd who saw Jack flash that familiar smile and head straight for his team locker room.

“I just think he wanted to tell them to go out and play hard, be themselves and enjoy the game,” said his mother Leslie Jablonski.

“To see him come back, that was a joy, but to see him in the chair, back on the rink was really emotional,” she said.

Jack watched the game from a back corner, sharing handshakes, high fives and laughter. His mother said his arm movement his progressing, adding that Jack fed himself waffles Thursday.

“I can’t imagine the strength it would take to do what he is doing right now, but I think that is part of the healing process for him too as well,” said Mahoney.

For fans it doesn’t matter whether he’s skating or in the stands. Courage has changed this game, and in many ways, Jack is back where he belongs.

“He’s talked about it since day one, I want to get back to the rink,” said Leslie Jablonski.

And whatever Jack said to this teammates in the locker room, must have brought good luck. The Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights beat Holy Family 7-0 to advance in the playoffs.

Comments (18)
  1. Clyde says:

    Kudos to you.. You are a true hero….. And I believe good things are in your horizon…

  2. Real truth again says:

    I will bet the farm that this young man will walk out on the ice and skate again. It will be a long road, but God will be with him every step of the way.

  3. debber says:

    My prayers are with this young man. I hope the best for him. I want to see how well he is doing in one or two years, when the media frenzy and attention has died down.

  4. Mark G. says:

    Good to hear he is making progress. However, this story and the exaggerated focus on 1 injured teen, is an issue with media and society. How many teens in MN have been paralyzed or severely injured in the last 6 months? Probably dozens. How many families have benefited from this sort of media attention? There is only so much good will and money to go around. Focusing it all one one of dozens of families in need is wrong.

    1. rr says:

      Agree with you 100%. I wonder if we would have even heard about this if this had happened as a result of a car accident….

    2. jackactionhero says:

      The focus is there because there are more people impacted by the story who are keeping it there. That’s all. For you to say anybody is doing anything wrong is simply shameful. If you want to highlight the story of another youth enduring challenge, feel free to do so all on your own.

      1. debber says:

        “Do it all on you own”..Clearly you do not know what you are talking about..I would have loved a fraction of the attention this young man has received three years ago when I had my auto accident that fractured my neck and dislocated my shoulder. At the time I could not even get a large local lutheran church to shovel my sidewalk one time. Nothing wrong with giving support to this young teen that will not know life as he once did but, I hope these same people are giving support to others who’s life has changed forever at no fault of there own. Impossible to help everyone but helping just one other person can make a huge difference in that person’s life.

        1. jackactionhero says:

          So apparently this young man has more friends and loving family than you do and they are the ones keeping him in the news, and I for one am happy they are.

          I was lying in Regions Hospital ICU unconscious for a week myself and never expected anybody to have a fundraiser for me or write a newspaper article about me.

          These “same people” are part of Jack’s support structure. You should save your energy for hoping YOU are giving support to others who need it, instead of commenting like this on Jack’s tragic and inspirational story.



    3. jack says:

      It takes a special kind of A-hole to rain on a the parade of a paralyzed teenager…

    4. ChiTownRuler65 says:


    5. Jessi says:

      Exactly. I mean, even just in hockey injuries, what about Jenna Privette? She also suffered paralysis after a hit during a game just a week after Jack Jablonski, but is not even getting HALF of the media attention. Whether it’s because she’s female or because she has the chance of walking again where Jablonski won’t, I’m not sure, but I say this coverage is getting a little ridiculous.

  5. Andy says:

    Good job jack. But , how was it surprise when you idiots had all over the news hours before he did it.

  6. do do says:

    this is why we need stem cell reserch, we can end the suffering of things like this, if people wern’t so F’en narrow minded about stem cells……more research!!!!

  7. Steve says:

    Stay strong Jack. I am a coach & long time player. A few years ago I was coaching with a great man who was paralized but made great recovery, walking with a cane & leg brace but also managed to get back on the ice. In 2010 HE, yes HE took our tean to win the State Championship. Check it out….
    This is not an ad, just proof you can thiumph over this.

  8. Steve says:

    ….and my keyboard hates me, excuse the mis-spellings.

    Again, stay strong Jack. I’m glad you were there for your team.

  9. Steve Agosto says:

    How was he injured?

    1. jackactionhero says:

      If you’re being serious, and haven’t heard the story, please check out Jack’s Caring Bridge site.

  10. Time to move on says:

    I hope is gets better but I am so sick of hearing about this and all the money being donated is insane. This kid was playing hockey and got hurt, his family knew the risk. How about some of this money go to kids fighting things out of their control….like cancer. Kind of seems like this family, that was well-to-do before is taking advantage of charity.

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