ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. -- For fans, players, and the entire Benilde St. Margaret's community, Saturday evening's hockey game included more smiles than sadness, something needed after a long, difficult week.
"It's been pretty tough, but also extremely hopeful," said BSM senior Leila Aboussir. "We've all come together because of this."
Benilde St. Margaret's took on St. Louis Park Saturday, the first game back after the injury to fellow teammate Jack Jablonski. The arena was packed with students from both schools all wearing red and white in honor of the student who is now paralyzed after a check from behind last week.
"We're so thankful for all the support," said Leslie Jablonski, Jack's mother who attended the game. "If there's going to be a miracle, that's how it will happen."
Leslie was greeted with hugs from dozens of other hockey parents and players. She also brought encouraging news from the hospital.
"He was able to move the arm where he shouldn't have been able too," she said. "And the left arm had no movement all week and he moved it on command."
She recalls the doctors saying that, "Jack made their day" with that simple movement.
Returning to the ice was a small step in returning to normalcy for the BSM community, but that doesn't mean it wasn't any less emotional.
"It's going to be a real emotional game because we all know him," said Ryan Nichols, a hockey player for St. Louis Park. "We want to support him, play hard for him. It's more than a game tonight."
Sold in the lobby were hundreds if not thousands of #13 buttons as well as t-shirts, stickers, and mittens.
"There's a new energy tonight," said Anne Moore, a parent of a hockey player. "All the proceeds here will go to Jack's family."
Many other parents said the surge of support is important for the Jablonski family. Leslie agrees.
"People we don't even know us, know about Jack's story. It's amazing," she said.
A website has been setup to for anyone interested in supporting the family. In the days to come, a new website called "Jack's Pledge" will go live. The site will encourage high school hockey players to take a pledge to play the game responsibly.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)