By Esme Murphy
jack jablonski1 Sports Illustrated Puts National Spotlight On Jabby

(credit: CBS)

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was the hit heard around the nation, and now it’s affecting rules in the game of hockey.

On Dec. 30, during a Benilde-St. Margaret’s hockey game, Jack Jablonski was illegally checked from behind. As a result, the sophomore suffered paralysis.

Jablonski’s story is featured in the new edition of Sports Illustrated that hit the newsstands on Thursday.

The story not only updates Jablonski’s condition, but it is also a reflection on the impact the tragedy has had on hockey families in Minnesota.

Karen Schneider of Minneapolis wrote the article. She knows the Jablonski family, and her son is a rising youth hockey star.

Schneider said she at first pitched the story to her friends in the national media to draw attention to Jack Jablonski’s injury and to focus attention on making the game safer. Sports Illustrated said they wanted the story but from a hockey Mom’s perspective.

WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews Karen Schneider

“I don’t love the fact that part of the game is these kids crashing into each other and these kids crashing into the boards and hurting themselves,” she said.

Both Schneider’s 13-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son play hockey. For a month after Jablonski’s injury, Schneider couldn’t go to her son Cade’s games for fear of seeing him take a hit.

“Sometimes when that happens I say I hate this game, but I don’t hate the game. I hate the people who make the game bad,” Schneider said.

The Jablonksi tragedy has resulted in tougher penalties at both the youth and high school level.

“It’s a tragedy that it took this to make it happen, but there is a change underfoot and it makes me very happy,” she said.

The story also features in depth interview with the Jablonksi’s and details on how hard Jack is working.

“He is using his athletic mentality, his competitive nature to make the best of this situation and he is making amazing progress,” said Schneider.

For Leslie Jablonski, the story is a mirror on the injury and its immediate aftermath.

“That time in our life happened so fast and I don’t remember everything, but to read it and to read it so beautifully written brought me to tears,” Leslie said.

It’s also a story about how Jack’s injury has left so many in the hockey community thinking that could have been their child. Schneider’s son Cade is already being scouted by elite junior teams.

“If everything goes the way Cade wants it to go he will play hockey at increasingly exciting and dangerous levels for the next 10 to 15 years,” Schneider said. “Every day I struggle with that reality because if I could I would say why don’t you take up chess?”

Schneider said she knows that’s not going to happen. For all her reservations about the violent parts of the game, Schneider said she appreciates what she calls the beautiful parts of the game that her son and so many others love so much.

Comments (13)
  1. Dan says:

    just FYI so it’s clear the checking rule was change from peewees to bantams well before Jack Jablonski’s injury and not after his injury.

  2. jackactionhero says:


  3. konjokris says:

    I sure hope something more is done for all High School sports. My son plays football and the football culture at this level is frightening. I am not a big fan and I cringe at the thought of him palying this fall.
    I also need to add this is my sons first year in High School sports, I am shocked at how serious this level is.

  4. Anne says:

    While I wish Jabs nothing but the best and I totally appreciate the overwhelming support his friends and family have given him….

    Can the press please also give as much attention to other teens who have been involved in tragedy? Not to take anything away from this young man, but there are so many others that could also use the publicity and (as a result of it) the donations and other benefits..

    Once again… not taking anything away from Jabs – Good luck young man – but there are many others who could also use the same amount of ink/press and also benefit from it.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Pathetic, Anne… Simply pathetic.

      1. jackTHISactionhero says:

        Why? She never diss-ed your hero – she just wished others would get some press on their injuries too.

        The pathetic one is you – since your hero has all the press, say Eff You to everyone else??

  5. Sara says:

    My son is a high school hockey player and I appreicate the attempts to make the sport safer. I just wish that all the officals on the ice called the same penalties. My son is currently out of hockey with a concussion from a head contact that was not called. In fact there were several of what should have been head contact penalties in the same game and none were called. Is there a procedure to follow for the refs to make this call or is it a gray area that they have to judge intent? If anyone knows how these rules are enforced let me know.

  6. Billy says:

    This kid has no idea of what kind of like he is in for. He sure does smile a lot.

  7. jackactionhero says:

    You must be boofing him too

  8. do do says:

    as a disabled veteran i can guarentee jab is in for a very hard life, i wish him luck cuz it will become very trying in the next few years………

  9. Carla says:

    Sara, my son missed most of his high school soccer season due to a concussion and serious neck injury. (He’s a goalie.) No penalty was called , and when I emailed the athletic director at the other school to let him know about the seriousness of the injury, I barely got a response. It’s not just hockey, but just about every high school sport that needs to address safety concerns. It is up to the parents, coaches, refs, and players. Unfortunately, the players continue to endanger other players because they are allowed. Five months out, my son is still going to PT for his neck injury.

  10. Kalen P says:

    I would have appreciate less about the author’s son (it seemed like an ongoing promotional piece for his hockey aspirations) and more about the Jablonskis.
    All the points could have been made without the references to her son and the other boys who I assume are his friends and team mates who want their names in SI.
    The article should have ended with more about jack and maybe quotes from hockey types talking about his opportunities for speaking/adaptive sports etc. But we end with more about her family…

    1. Scott Anderson says:

      Kalen P, exactly my thoughts. Her son isn’t even one of the better hockey players. If she’s so concerned about the violence in hockey then they should not let him play. It’s simple. It’s not like he is going to make the pros anyway. He goes to BLAKE for chrissakes. Additionally, this concern about hockey and it’s violence gives those of us who know this family and who know that the Gleekels kept their son back a year before entering school so that he would be one of the bigger kids find a little bit hard to believe. This is a hard hitting, competitive family and they would do anything – anything – to help their son make it in hockey.

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