LA Kings employee, former hockey player Jack Jablonski comes out as gay
Jack Jablonski, digital media content specialist for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and hockey player until he was paralyzed after being hit during a high school hockey game more than 10 years ago , came out publicly as gay.
“Before my injury, I started to fight inside myself. I went from confusion, to disbelief, to denial, to repression, to now, to acceptance and happiness. This process has been extremely difficult and lonely. I’m proud of who I am and ready to share,” Jablonski wrote.
“I couldn’t fully understand my feelings and thoughts,” he wrote. “I was a multi-sport athlete, growing up surrounded by a straight, male world. I started to feel different and internalized everything.
“Once I got hurt I focused on recovery, but the weight of my sexuality just got heavier and heavier. I dealt with it on my own for a very long time and it ate me up. I I’m finally in a good place mentally and it’s time for me to move on and live my life freely.
Jablonski, 26, also acknowledged the impact other LGBTQ people in sport have had on him, writing: “Having seen the acceptance of the brave men and women who came before me, I cannot thank you enough for what you have done to pave the way for the sport. You’ve helped people like me become comfortable being who we really are in public. A gay man in the sports world.
In the Athletic article, Jablonski explained how inspired he was when the NHL’s top prospect Luke Prokop came out as gay in 2019.
“Whether he knows it or not, Luke Prokop has been huge for me,” says Jablonski. “I opened up and talked to him. I asked him a bunch of questions and asked his brain how it all went for him, and he was all compliments to everyone, especially the way the Predators treated him, which made me feel a lot better.
The Kings sent a message celebrating the release of Jablonski:
“We are proud of Jack and impressed with his courage, an inspiration to everyone in our organization. Inclusiveness, equality and diversity are embraced in our workplace and community. Jack’s announcement is celebrated by our club and we support him unconditionally.
Jablonski was paralyzed from the chest down and his spinal cord was severed after being back checked and slammed into the board during a high school game in Minnesota on December 30, 2011.
Since the accident, he has become an advocate for people with disabilities, forming the Jack Jablonski BEL13VE in Miracles Foundation (he has raised over $3 million for spinal cord research) and participates in clinical trials for a company trying to help people with spinal cord injuries recover and alleviate certain conditions.
In a message to Outsports about the reaction to his new one, Jablonski said: “Extremely overwhelmed in the best possible way. Very moving. Jablonski, who hopes to one day work in an NHL front office, has been an inspiration to people with disabilities and now will be for LGBTQ people in sports.