Schools notebook // Tragic hockey injury inspires change

A movement to limit dangerous hits in youth hockey games quickly gained momentum following the devastating injury that left ECCO resident and Benilde-St. Margaret’s sophomore Jack Jablonski paralyzed.

Jablonski sustained a serious spinal cord injury when he was checked into the boards from behind during a Dec. 30 junior varsity match against Wayzata. Within just a few weeks, youth hockey teams across Minnesota and even outside the state were pledging to prevent dangerous hits, and the Minnesota State High School League also took action to increase the penalties for risky contact during games.

Steve Jecha, executive director of the Minneapolis Hockey Association, said his email inbox and voicemail were overwhelmed in the days after the association introduced Jack’s Pledge. The pledge encourages players and coaches to abide by the rules of the game and avoid dangerous hits.

Jablonski, 16, played on Minneapolis Hockey Association teams as a younger player, and his younger brother, Max, currently plays for the Minneapolis Storm PeeWee A team, Jecha said.

“I’ve seen kids get hurt over the last several years, and I really felt something needed to get done,” he said.

The Minneapolis Hockey Association was distributing helmet stickers to teams and associations that took Jack’s Pledge. The association also was encouraging other hockey leagues to adopt “Rule 13,” named for the number on Jablonski’s high school hockey sweater, a series of rule changes that would put players on bench after dangerous hits.

“What we’ve always found is when you take ice time away from kids, that’s the best [behavior] modifier,” Jecha said.

Also in January, state high school league officials stiffened penalties for three rules infractions: checking from behind, boarding and contact to the head. All three are now automatically five-minute major penalties, and game officials have the option of assessing disqualifications that would keep the players who commit such penalties out of action for both the rest of the game and the next scheduled game.

For more information on Jack’s Pledge or Rule 13, go to jackspledge.com or jabby13.com. For updates on Jablonski, visit the Caring Bridge page maintained by his family at caringbridge.org/visit/jackjablonski.


School Board elects officers

Alberto Monserrate was elected 2012 School Board chair by his colleagues during the board’s Jan. 10 annual meeting.

Monserrate takes over the chairmanship from fellow School Board Member Jill Davis. In the annual shuffling of responsibilities, the School Board unanimously approved a slate of candidates that included Jenny Arneson for vice chair, Richard Mammen for clerk and Hussein Samatar for treasurer.

The Jan. 10 meeting also was the first for newly appointed Board Member Kim Ellison, who took the oath of office. Ellison was appointed to fill a seat vacated by Lydia Lee, who retired from office.


Blake students recognized for anti-bullying campaign

A student group at The Blake School was to be honored in January for leading anti-bullying efforts at their school.

PFLAG Twin Cities planned to award the school’s Justice League its Outstanding Student-led Organization Award during the Jan. 20 Cultivating Respect conference at Hamline University. PFLAG Twin Cities is the local chapter of a national organization advocating for the health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons.

Founded last school year, the Justice League includes students in grades 10–12 who work to promote safe learning environments at Blake and at other schools across the state. Members participated in several statewide education conferences and attended last year’s OutFront Lobby Day at the state capitol.

The Justice League also led this fall’s Stand Up, Speak Out event, when students across the state were invited to join in anti-bullying efforts.


Hot Notes on a Cold Night is Jan. 28

Hot Notes on a Cold Night Cabaret, the annual benefit for Southwest High School’s performing arts programs, is 7 p.m.–10 p.m. Jan. 28 at The Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 Third Ave. S.

The seventh-annual fundraiser will feature performances by Southwest students in the school’s dance, music and choral programs. There will be a selection of hors d’oeuvres from Chow Girls catering, a silent auction and raffle, in addition to the entertainment.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door, and are available in $150 four-packs. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to southwest.mpls.k12.mn.us/2012_hot_notes_main_page.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Southwest alumni Ben Olk, Lars Lee, Ben Rosenbaum and the band Lynhurst were scheduled to perform at the event. All performed at previous Cold Night Cabarets as students, but will not appear this year.

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]