Pond Hockey Tournament raises $50,035 for Jablonski

Pond Hockey Tournament raises $50,035 for Jablonski

The Red Knight boys’ hockey team was given new jersies as a tribute to Jablonski with #13 on the front and his name on the back.

Liza Magill, Staff Writer

Huddled together to keep warm and show camaraderie, small groups of students, many adorned with a red-and-white pin containing the number 13, covered the snow-ridden Excelsior Bay on Lake Minnetonka on January 22. Whether these students were planning an attack for their next pond hockey game, taking pictures of the event, or participating in the silent auction, everyone came to the lake for one reason: to show their support for their teammate, friend, and loved one Jack Jablonski at the Jack Jablonski Junior Bronze Pond Hockey Tournament.

In total, 28 teams participated in the tournament, competing in rigorous 6-on-6 15-minute games in elimination brackets. Each team hoped to win the tournament, but most importantly understood the true purpose of the friendly competition. “We, of course, wanted to do well, but we were doing it for Jack,” said senior Jake Horton, captain of the boys’ hockey team and member of the 2nd place team in the tournament. “He’s our constant inspiration now.”

Along with the hockey tournament itself, the adjacent Bay View restaurant hosted a silent auction in honor of Jack. Items such as jewelry, signed/autographed jerseys, sticks, balls, pucks, a Wild Suite, and a first pitch at a MN Twins Game made up the over 175 items sold. “Most [of the items donated] were not officially received until the Friday night before the event,” said Colleen Sauter, organizer of the silent auction. “After that, it was a madhouse to produce signs, record items, set pricing and get things ready for set up. It was fun and stressful… but most definitely worth it.”

Support for the tournament rose from numerous organizations and teams around the state and the country, all donating items to the silent auction. “So many different organizations donated,” said junior Mario Zattoni, co-organizer of the event. “The LA Kings, Boston Bruins, Polaris, Washington Capitals, Twins, Vikings, the list goes on and on. Almost every NHL team donated in some shape or form.”

In addition to the tangible contributions for the tournament, numerous individuals worked as volunteers to allow the event run smoothly. “We had over 200 volunteers support the event that day. Collecting money, donations, auction set up, logistics, close out and tear down,” said Sauter. “We had to build a tracking system to record money collected as donations and event entrance fees––there were teams to check in, wristbands to distribute.”

With an entrance fee of $10 per person to enter the tournament, as well as a silent auction and donations, the tournament went above and beyond the initial goal to raise a little bit of money for the Jablonski family. In the end, the tournament raised $50,035, including $13,000 from an anonymous donor, and 100 percent of the money went to the Jack Jablonski fund. “When we first decided to put on the tournament, we could have never imagined that we would make this much money for Jack and his family,” said junior Arthur Boyle, co-organizer of the event. “We thought that getting $30,000 was a stretch at the beginning, so making $50,000 was amazing.”

Although an immense amount of organization and planning went into the event, all of the event coordinators––juniors Jake Szarzynski, Arthur Boyle, and Mario Zattoni––believed that the results of the tournament significantly overcompensated for the work involved. “The tournament was amazing,” said Zattoni. “It was light years beyond our expectations in terms of success.”