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Paralyzed hockey player drafted by Chicago Steel in USHL draft

May 08, 2013|By Matt Wilhalme
  • Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed by a check during a hockey game in 2011, was drafted by the United States Hockey League's Chicago Steel on Tuesday.
Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed by a check during a hockey game in 2011,… (BEL13VERS / YouTube )

Jack Jablonski was only a sophomore in high school when he was paralyzed by a check into the boards during a hockey game for Benilde-St. Margaret’s in Minnesota in 2011.

On Tuesday, he was drafted by the Chicago Steel in the United States Hockey League’s Phase 2 draft.

Jablonski’s tragic injury -- high tetraplegia to the C4 vertebra -- and ensuing dedication to one day get back on the ice spurred support from all over the hockey community, including ex-Kings defenseman Davis  Drewiske, who brought the Stanley Cup to the Minneapolis teen’s home last summer.

Thanks to that support, Jablonski and his family created the Jack Jablonski Bel13ve in Miracles Foundation to pay that kindness forward and help others who have suffered spinal-cord injuries.

Jablonski, who hasn't given up on his hockey dreams, reached out to the USHL on Monday before the draft to remind them that he was available.

His message did not go unnoticed.

“At first I was shocked,” Jablonski told USAToday’s For the Win, after being selected by the Steel with their final pick of the USHL draft. “That tweet was not quite serious, but it was amazing to find out that a team supports me like that. I’m very thankful.”

Jablonski, who is currently serving as an assistant coach and captain for his high school team, spoke with Steel Coach and General Manager Scott McConnell on Tuesday night.

The young draftee doesn’t know what his role with the organization will be, but he’s headed to Chicago for the team’s camp in June.

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