Success and failure, heartache and happiness—extremes tend to bring communities together in a way that crosses all boundaries, state and otherwise.
Minnesota has experienced just that recently, after the devastating and highly publicized paralization of hockey player Jack Jablonski, and a couple weeks later, the injury of Jenna Privette. Both high school students were playing a sport they love, a sport that this Land of 10,000 Lakes claims like niceness and “The Miracle on Ice.”
Hockey players, parents, and fans everywhere (even this basketball girl who didn’t use the “h word” growing up) were touched by the news, causing a domino-effect of nation-wide discourse regarding everything from checking and in-game regulations to whether any sports are worth the risk.
So it’s eerily fitting that this Saturday, January 21, is National Hockey Day. It’s a day of camaraderie where hockey fans will unite, like they have around Jack and Jenna.
U.S. Pond Hockey Championship
Minnesota’s unusually “warm” and snowless (so far!) winter has caused a few organizations to tailor their plans a bit, but thankfully all can continue in some form. Here’s a few:
Defending the Blue Line, whose mission is “to ensure that the children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey,” is hosting the 2nd annual Skate for the Troops at The Guidant John Rose Oval in Roseville, Minn.
The Jack Jablonski Junior Bronze Pond Hockey Tournament is continuing as planned in Excelsior, along with the Pond Hockey North America Championship, as part of Hockey Blast Minnesota.
The Wild, Minnesota’s NHL team, announced that Minnesota’s Hockey Day will be dedicated to the family of Jablonski, and will involve an all-day telethon to raise money for his trust fund. Some of the associated hockey games have been moved to the Pagel Activity Center indoors in Minnetonka, but times and teams have stayed the same:
• White Bear Lake vs. Grand Rapids (Boys) at Pagel Activity Center – 10 a.m.â€¨
• Minnetonka vs. Duluth East (Boys) at Pagel Activity Center – 1:30 p.m.â€¨
• Minnetonka vs. Hopkins (Girls) at Pagel Activity Center – 4 p.m.â€¨
• Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Colorado College at Mariucci Arena – 5 p.m.â€¨
• Minnesota Wild vs. Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center – 8 p.m.
And lastly, we’re home to the 7th annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championship, Jan. 20-22 at Lake Nokomis. With six divisions, you can catch men and women of all ages and skills playing outdoor hockey “the way nature intended.”
Between events, or if you’re not heading out to the rinks, you can follow Hockey Day Minnesota on FOX Sports North for a full day of hockey coverage. Get out, do good, and be safe!
U.S. Pond Hockey Championship photos by Todd buchanan