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The Story of David Lemanowicz, Jill Wagner's Husband, That Needs to Be Known

Sea Published On Thu Apr 09 2020   Modified On Wed Apr 22 2020
The Story of David Lemanowicz, Jill Wagner's Husband, That Needs to Be Known

Jill Wagner is everyone's 'Hallmark Channel's Favorite Actress', well, if you've been following her works over the year. While fiction can create the most romantic love stories, it takes a special something to be able to live in real life. And Jill's story with husband David Lemanowicz is no different.

But that's a different story for now. David has a story of his own that's being shadowed by their incredible Hallmark movie-like love story. There are different identities of the celebrity husband in different stories, but they've never been pieced into one.

Jill Wagner and husband David Lemanowicz in a black & white photo with a romantic pose of heads together facing each other.

The love story is like right out of a movie script. Recommended to read it.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

In one place, he's written as an ex-hockey player, and in the other, in their love story, he's an army man. Jill has mentioned both of them though. During two different meetings before they actually started dating, he was once an ice hockey player and then in the army. (It's covered in the love story we've already discussed.)

David Comes from a Family of Polish Immigrants

David Lemanowicz was born on March 8, 1976, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and raised there. But as his last name suggests, his parents were originally from Poland. They grew up in an oppressive society back in Poland before settling in BC in 1973, so David's childhood was not like that of a typical Canadian boy.

David Lemanowicz in his profile photo for Spokane in 1993/94.

Yeah, David Lemanowicz was a lot different man during his ice hockey days.
Photo Source: Hockey DB

"I think it had something to do with me coming from an immigrant family,"  he stated. "They grew up in such an oppressive society that it made me think how good we have it in First World countries. I'm lucky and I want to be a part of this polity, the great institutions. I never really thought about, 'Oh, I want to make a ton of money.' It's just the way I was wired and socialized as a boy."

But there comes the dream every Canadian child would have dreamt of at least once in their life, playing Ice Hockey. Football for Americans, Ice Hockey for Canadians.

Playing Since High School, He Became a Pro-Hockey Player As the First All-Star Goaltender in Spokane Chiefs history

David Lemanowicz's professional career in hockey might've started later in the US, but his competitive hockey roots date back to his high school years. He started out with 'Kelowna Spartans' in the 1991/92 season in the BCJHL, the Junior league that was renamed to BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League) in 1990. He chose to be a goaltender for his hockey career.

David Lemanowicz as a young boy in an ice hockey outfit with a glove.

Yeah, he's been a goalie for a long time.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

David Lemanowicz spent the next two seasons with Penticton Panthers in the BCHL while already having gotten into the Spokane Chiefs roster in their 1992/93 season in the WHL, another junior league in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States.

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With Spokane Chiefs, he starred in the back and spent four seasons with them. The 1995/96 was his final season with them, and if he wants to go back to his hockey days and pick his favorite time of all, that season would be his first choice.

1995 was when the team moved to their current venue, the Spokane Arena, and that season was probably the best in the club's history as it won 50 games to advance to the WHL Championship finals. They were also the first team in the WHL to have come back from a 0-3 trail to win a best-of-seven series, doing it against Portland Winter Hawks in 1996.

David Lemanowicz was part of the 1996 Chiefs team that won 50 games.

Spokane was the best place in his ice-hockey playing career.
Photo Source: The Spokesman-Review File

So yeah, it was one of David's best-performing years in his hockey-playing career, which barely goes noticed. It was also then that he was the first all-star goaltender in Spokane Chiefs history, which had already caught the eye of a notable NHL team, the Florida Panthers.

David Lemanowicz was drafted #218 in round 9 of the overall 1995 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers, and thus, he had the next season (1996/97) to spend in their minor league farm team, the Carolina Monarchs in the NHL. That's the time he's considered to have gone pro, but it was only a new stage in his playing career he was going into.

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"In the AHL, things are very professional," David recalled of that moment. "But when you take just that one step down to the ECHL, the Colonial, the Central – all those Double-A leagues – you're just a commodity, and that's putting it nicely."

David Lemanowicz in a Spokane outfit without the helmet.

Despite going pro in 1996, he was already a pro at the game for a long time.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

Recalling the love story with Jill Wagner, this was also the season that she met David, having come from Carolina herself. He was 20, and she was 17, a story that paused after three dates and would resume almost two decades later.

Carolina Monarchs were only into their second season of it's existence in 1996/97 when it was then dethroned, defunct, later purchased by the Hartford Whalers of the NHL, and moved to New Haven, Connecticut, under the name Beast of New Haven, which David Lemanowicz was still a part of the 1997/98 season.

After 3 Pro Seasons, He Took a 5-Year Break, Enrolled at the University of Toronto and Met His First Wife There

In fact, Jill Wagner is David's second wife. Yeah, he was initially married and even had a daughter with his first wife (more below).

David Lemanowicz married his wife, Gina, a United States citizen, in 2005.

David met Gina while in Toronto.
Photo Source: David Lemanowicz/The Spokesman-Review

When David Lemanowicz was with the Monarchs and New Haven, he also played for Port Huron Border Cats in the CoHL (Chicago) and for Tallahassee Tiger Sharks in the ECHL below the AHL in the respective seasons. For his third pro season (1998/99), he played for Austin Ice Bats in the WPHL, a now-defunct minor professional league after being merged into the CHL.

The 1998/99 season was the last time he played pro for the next five years. He called it a temporary "retirement" as he went to be a tour guide while also playing in Poland. But that's for later.

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For the break, he went to Toronto for further studies at the University of Toronto and earned a degree in international relations. While in there, he did play ice hockey for the university the first two years, 2000-2002 (after the first year of his "retirement"). He was young but also got the chance to be a coach of the University team for the next & last two years.

Another milestone while studying in Toronto for David Lemanowicz was meeting his first wife, Gina, there. She was born in Tampa and an American, but she'd lived in Toronto since she was seven. After dating for about five years, they got married in 2005 and lived in Edinburg with four dogs. Their daughter, Lija, was born in mid-February 2010, over a year after his official retirement from the game and his entry into the military.

Jill Wagner's husband David Lemanowicz with a dog smiling at the camera.

His love for dogs continues to this day.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

Despite living in Toronto for much of her life, first wife Gina still retained her American citizenship. And thus, when being married to her, David also applied for American citizenship, which ultimately allowed him to be a part of the US Army. But that's for later.

Traveled Year After Year with Different Teams Before Retiring Due to a Fallout with a Coach

While his focus was to graduate, David Lemanowicz still had that itch to go back to pro hockey. But he needed to get back into form from zero, and he actually got that stepping stone as a practice goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs' Ed Belfour, a chance that he called "a total fluke".

He was terrible for the first few weeks, but the practice became for him as well since, by the eighth week, he was getting better, almost as good as the backup goalie, Trevor Kidd.

David Lemanowicz back in the day, before the military.

David Lemanowicz quit hockey after seeing no further future with the sport.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

"The first week, I was probably the worst goalie on the planet. But by the eighth week, I was doing no worse than the backup goalie – who was Trevor Kidd, in one of those weird Spokane connections."

Then in the 2004/05 season of the CHL, he got that pro-league chance when Memphis Riverkings signed him as their goaltender. He was back. He moved from Memphis to Laredo Bucks for 2005/06 season, then briefly to Poland afterward and returned with Elmira Jackals for 2006/07 in the UHL.

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While with Elmira, David Lemanowicz was traded to the Chicago Hounds in the UHL but never played a single game. For his final season, he went to Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in the CHL in 2007/08.

It was a difficult time at Rio Grande as he was repeatedly facing 45 shots a night on a team that won just 16 games in total (7 games with David in the rink), but he still outperformed with a 0.902 Pct. It was the team's worst performance in its history as David himself faced an impossible battle with the coach, "who backstabbed to the point I felt I was living in a bizarre world. It’s what made me retire."

Life outside hockey is actually great for David.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

"I feel bad for players who end up on the minor pro merry-go-round, for lack of a better term," he said of retiring with a plan. "The next thing you know they're 30 and have no idea what they're going to do. There's no loyalty, in terms of those teams. They don't give a damn, and if you don't look at things strategically, you can get lost."

And like that, David Lemanowicz's hockey-playing career was over with a sour note at the age of 32, but he wasn't rejecting the idea of connecting with hockey in the later years. However, his forward career path wasn't something that would make him keen on the sport in later life.

In 2009, He Made His Final Plans to Be Dedicated to US Governmental Service

In hopes of working for the FBI or the DEA or some other federal agency one day, he embarked on the journey of military life in 2009, despite not being the ideal age for a recruit.

David Lemanowicz in an US Army outfit.

Yeah, an ethnic Polish becoming a Canadian ice hockey player joining the American army is absolutely rare.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

He spent a month at Fort Lewis in Tacoma for a leadership development course and also was second to a military police company commander at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He then went back to complete a master's degree in global security studies through the ROTC program at the University of Texas-Pan American.

... I want to be part of something bigger – to serve and be a part of a historical narrative. Being part of the greatest military to have ever been on this earth is a tremendous privilege.

After nine months, of course, he was commissioned as Lt. David Lemanowicz of the US Army Reserve, a job that got him the chance to travel the world with the US Army, another point in his love story with Jill Wagner. He was also a father within the nine months.

David and Gina Divorced Sometime After 2012 Before Meeting Jill

The army took him to places around the world. And it was perhaps the distance that was too hard for the married couple of David and Gina. And then, in one of those abroad stations in Afghanistan in 2013, he met Jill, who also had accepted an invitation to go visit several of those bases. It's unclear as to when the former couple separated, but after that second meeting with Jill, it seems it was not working anymore.

Life has never been better for Jill with Lija also as a blessing with David.

Life has never been better for Jill with Lija also as a blessing with David.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

Three years later, in April 2016, when David and Jill met again, he was divorced with a kid living alone in Washington, something Jill's psychic actually knew. The psychic also told her they'd have twins, but that one is yet to be true. (Go to the full story for the real deal.)

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David Lemanowicz and second wife Jill Wagner got engaged in July 2016 and married on April 8, 2017, apparently their magic month. Why so sure? Because they planned the birth of their child to be this month, April 2020. Even if they don't have twins and even if it is not this month, keep checking their social media pages to be ready to congratulate when the time comes. And the reckoning is near as she's already mentioned in the comments that the baby's coming Friday, April 17.

Update: The baby came exactly at the day they expected her to. And she has a clearly awesome name you should know about.

Stay tuned and connected to IdolPersona for more celebrity stories that should be told but are still underrated.

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