LEHIGH VALLEY, MARCH 23, 2012. Several local Lehigh Valley hockey fans made the trek to see the Wilkes-Barre Penguins host the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday, March 23, 2012. It was more than an evening of taking in a minor league hockey game, but a show of support for a 16 year old, Minnesota hockey player, Jack Jablonski who on December 30th was involved in a tragic hockey accident. As he was in pursuit of a loose puck shot deep into the offensive zone, Jack was checked and careened into the boards head first. In a matter of seconds, Jack’s life was dramatically altered. Jack suffered a serious spinal cord injury and broke two vertebrae while playing the game he loves. Though undergoing successful surgery to fuse three vertebrae to protect the spinal cord from further injury, the cord was severed in the accident causing pervasive paralysis.
A bus load of more than 50 fans departed from Allentown, PA on Friday, March 23rd, 2012 to cheer on the soon to be home AHL team, the Adirondack Phantoms, while raising money to support the Jack Jablonski Fund. To date, more than $1500 has been raised locally by the Lehigh Valley hockey community through raffles, apparel sales and 50/50’s, as well as the bus trip on March 23rd. Several NHL and AHL teams, and the newly formed Penn State Ice Hockey team have donated autographed items in support of this cause.
(On a side note, our Lehigh Valley Flames Squirt Patriot coaches Bob Fryer and Jud Ritter were the two linesmen officiating the game!)
The Jack Jablonski Fund was created to assist Jack on his road to recovery from this tragic accident. The Minneapolis Hockey Association along with the Jablonski family have set up Jack’s Pledge in order to create a grass roots movement among coaches, moms, dads, players, and associations to make hockey safer. For more information, check out www.jabby13.com.