After the Washington Capitals’ morning skate at the Xcel Energy Center, several players had a chance to meet Jack Jablonski, the now 18-year-old Minnesotan who was paralyzed after being hit from behind during a high school hockey game.

Instead of becoming a sob story, Jablonski has become an inspirational figure in hockey. Here’s his story, beautifully told by ESPN 360.

During the preseason, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin sent Jablonski a signed helmet with the Russian inscription, “Be healthy and good luck! Be a good guy!”

Saturday, Ovechkin actually a chance to meet Jablonski after he was done skating. It was chronicled by Monumental Network.

As you’ll notice in the video, Jablonski — who had his spinal cord severed at the neck — is active in his wheelchair and even tries to handle Ovechkin’s stick after he signs it for him.

After Ovechkin went to change, several other Capitals come over to visit including Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, and John Carlson.

What a great way to start off the day.

  • GuestZ

    But will it be enough to inspire this team to be victorious tonight? Wouldn’t mind a soundbite of Gerard Butler yelling “THIS. IS. MINNESOTA!”

    just sayin…

  • Jeff Smith

    You can’t beat the heart of a hockey player. I’ve been following Jabs for some time and know his story. He’s a great kid and truly loves hockey. He didn’t give up but fought and will continue to fight his situation. Don’t feel sorry for him, he sure doesn’t want you to. So glad he got to meet some of the Caps.

  • Well said, Jeff.

  • Matt Lauer

    Yeah I’ve been following his story for a while, too. Totally agree with your characterization. Good to get stories like this from time to time.

  • Jeff Smith

    I’m with you Matt and thanks for writing about Jabs and his story Ian. He has met so many players and even had the Cup in his lap. I’m sure the Caps as well as the other NHL players feel very lucky to have met such an inspirational young man. I suggest everyone to follow him on Twitter @Jabs_13