Greg Kleven column: Jablonski made 2012 a special sports year
This sportswriter has covered the Twin Cities metro area high school sports scene for Sun Newspapers during the past 40 years and never witnessed the outpouring of support for a prep athlete like Benilde-St. Margaret’s hockey player Jack Jablonski received last winter.
It was an easy selection picking Jablonski as the St. Louis Park Sun-Sailor’s 2012 Athlete of the Year.
Jablonski was injured during a Red Knights’ junior varsity game against Wayzata Dec. 30 of 2011. He was checked from behind and suffered a damaged spinal cord leaving the Red Knight player paralyzed from the neck down.
Jablonski’s story touched the hearts of Minnesotans as well as people around the country and world. Donations and well-wishes continued to flow Jack’s way during the 2011-12 hockey season and his support continues to grow.
Jablonski may never walk or skate again but don’t count him out. He has worked hard in rehabilitation and has been able to move his left leg, ankle and finger.
“Jabs” was an inspiration to his BSM teammates who went on to defeat Hill-Murray 5-2 for the state Class 2A boys hockey championship.
Junior forward Grant Besse scored all five BSM goals in that title contest.
Jablonski is still a huge part of the BSM hockey program based in St. Louis Park. Red Knight head coach Ken Pauly enlisted Jack’s help as a student assistant coach.
It was a tragic injury that ended Jack Jablonski’s hockey career. But his injury brought renewed focus on preventing checking from behind and boarding in hockey.
And the courage shown by Jack Jablonski made the 2012 sports year an unforgettable one.
Holiday tourney warm ups
St. Louis Park’s winter sports teams were active in holiday tournaments during the past week. Due to early holiday press deadlines, highlights of Oriole athletic team endeavors in those tournaments will appear in Jan. 10th Sun-Sailor.
St. Louis Park teams had mixed success in competition prior to the tournaments.
The Oriole boys basketball squad has been impressive under the guidance of head coach Dave Breitenbucher.
St. Louis Park defeated Irondale 57-53 Dec. 21 as Kashif Hayes netted 18 points and D.J. Pollard came through with 16 points for the winning Orioles.
St. Louis Park has the potential to do damage in the section playoffs and should finish among the top three teams in the North Suburban Conference.
St. Louis Park’s girls basketball squad dropped a 46-41 decision to Irondale that same night. Mara Henderson was the Orioles’ leading scorer with 14 points and Abigail Olson chipped in with 13 points.
Park’s boys hockey squad lost 4-1 to Chisago Lakes Dec. 22. Jake Lukasavage scored the lone Oriole goal with assistance from Frank Jermusek.
Oriole senior goalie Ryan Froom made 27 saves.
St. Louis Park’s girls hockey team was defeated 3-0 by Totino-Grace Dec. 21. Oriole goalie Peyton Stafne was credited with 25 saves.