There are very few bonds as tight as the fraternity of hockey players. Apparently, that fraternity extends from high school hockey players all the way up to arguably the greatest player ever to lace up the skates.
Minnesota hockey player Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed after suffering a hit from behind in a game last month, has received an outpouring of support from across the hockey world. His latest words of encouragement came from Wayne Gretzky.
KAALtv.com reports (with a stick tap to Yahoo's Greg Wyshinski) that The Great One became the latest hockey star to lend support for Jablonski, who had his spinal cord partially severed during a Dec. 30 game. According to the report, members of the Benilde-St. Margaret girls hockey team are conducting fundraising efforts to support Jablonski, and Gretzky recently called to urge Jablonski to remain positive.
San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture tweeted Monday night that he and his teammates were planning to visit Jablonski during a trip to Minnesota in an attempt to "help him through this tough time." Couture also sent a tweet at Jablonski's Twitter account late Monday night.
"Great meeting you today bud. Stay strong and keep battling. All of us with the Sharks are thinking about you," the tweet read.
Gretzky and Couture are just the latest to send good vibes toward Jablonski. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is among the others who have sent their support to the sophomore.
"My agent told me what happened and I just want to wish u fast and best recovery possible," Chara wrote. "Stay strong and never give up Your friend Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins"
You can click here to read more of the support from NHL players and coaches alike at HockeyWilderness.com.
Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette is also reaching out in an effort to help Jablonski and his family. Bissonnette and his company, SauceHockey.com, have designed T-shirts to help fundraising efforts as well.
The show of support should come as no surprise to hockey fans, though. Norwood, Mass., native Matt Brown, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a high school hockey game in 2010, credits Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and the rest of the Boston Bruins in helping him through his continued rehab.
"To call some of the Boston Bruins my friends, is something not many people can do," Brown told NESN.com in September. "With them winning, being successful, that's just more drive to keep me going."
It just goes to show that a little bit of encouragement and motivation can go a long way when things go awry.