Sharks, Wild players visit paralyzed Jablonski

Sharks, Wild players visit paralyzed Jablonski

Published Jan. 11, 2012 11:30 a.m. ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The outpouring of support and well wishes for Benilde-St. Margaret's prep school hockey player Jack Jablonski has been statewide, nationwide and even global since he was paralyzed after being checked in a junior varsity game Dec. 30.

The hockey community has been especially attentive as Jablonski, 16, recovers from last week's surgery at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. On Monday, four San Jose Sharks players — Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski, Jamie McGinn and Logan Couture — made visiting Jablonski in the hospital their first priority after exiting a flight from California to Minnesota. No relaxing or dinner first, just a beeline to see a young man whose courage they admire.

"The schedule worked out pretty good, and we got to see him," said Clowe, who first heard about Jablonski's story on Twitter. "You think about being in that position yourself. You probably a lot of times think I would want to be by myself, it is tough see anyone. But he loved seeing us. It was a pretty touching moment. I am happy I went. For five to 10 minutes there, he was smiling, so it was worth it."

Before the visit from the Sharks, three Wild players dropped in on Jablonski on Monday afternoon, a little more than 24 hours before Minnesota beat San Jose 5-4 on Tuesday.

"I told him I was going to score a goal," said Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck, who indeed had a goal and an assist in the game. "I should have scored two or three for him."

Clutterbuck was joined by teammates Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley.

"You never want to see that happen to anyone, especially a kid," said Setoguchi, who added that he and his teammates will visit Jablonski again in a few weeks. "He was in pretty good spirits; he was doing really well. He was joking around with us, so I know he had a good time."

It seems one boy — who proved doctors wrong just one day after his surgery by moving his arms last week — has brought together more than rival NHL hockey teams. Everyone who loves the sport is pulling for "Jabs," who has even received a call from Wayne Gretzky.

"It just shows how tight the hockey community is when something like that happens," McGinn said. "We all pull together and help out in any way that we can. You want to be there to help him keep strong.

Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette's Sauce Hockey clothing line is helping, too. The company designed T-shirts printed with Jablonski's eighth-grade yearbook quote: "I don't believe in Miracles . . . I rely on them" on the front and his No. 13 on the back. started selling the T-shirts two days ago and already has raised $16,000. The shirts are $25 a piece, and all proceeds will go to Jablonski and his family.

"Everyone is worried about him. It is pretty nice to see," Clowe said. "He had about 10 jerseys hanging is his room, one signed by (Sidney) Crosby and a bunch of other teams around the league."

Hockey is a physical sport, and players know that what happened to Jablonski could happen to any one of them on any given night.

"We all know we play a pretty aggressive sport, and we are all at risk sometimes," Clowe said. "I think we realize that. You see something like that, and you realize how lucky you are and not to take anything for granted."