‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

A minor injury cost former Humboldt Broncos hockey player Jacob Wassermann an opportunity to compete at last month’s adaptive water-ski world championship in Norway.

But he says that just getting to be part of the Canadian team has whetted his appetite for the sport and increased his determination to attend the next championship in Australia in a couple of years.

Wassermann was invited to complete as a prospect in Skarnes, Norway, but is planning a different way in next time.

“I’m going there as an athlete. I want to go as a full part of the team,” Wassermann told The Canadian Press in an interview from his home in Saskatoon.

“That’s my goal. It’s a very achievable one in my opinion.”

WATCH: Humboldt survivors featured in documentary want to make their ‘angels’ proud

The former Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year when the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi collided at an intersection in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen people were killed.

Now 19, Wassermann took up adaptive water-skiing a year ago at the urging of national team member Nolan Barnes, who was paralyzed in a car accident nine years ago.

Wassermann will be back on the water this weekend as Saskatoon holds the provincial water-skiing championship.

“For me, it’s just the freedom you get. You get out of your chair, get on the water and you’re going fast … not a lot of sports get that kind of speed and adrenaline,” he said.

“The season’s almost over. We’re running out of summer here. I’ll ski until the year’s over and it gets too cold to get into the water and I’m starting school.”

The sport involves a specially modified wakeboard attached to a ski with a cage that the skier is strapped into. Athletes are expected to compete in three categories: tricks, slalom and jumping.

Wassermann said he was surprised at the camaraderie among the competitors in the international community.

“When they’re on the water, you can tell they’re going to work. But when they’re off the water … they’re sort of hanging out, supporting their teams, supporting the other skiers,” he said.

“It’s a different environment from what I’m used to in the hockey world, where if it’s not your team you’re against them.”

Wassermann is to begin classes at the University of Saskatchewan this fall. He hopes to eventually have a career in nutrition.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo man, allegedly drunk and high, arrested after climbing 100-foot tree

Man in sandals climbs fir tree, hurls obscenities at police below

Timeline pushed back for Tofino-Ucluelet highway construction project

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel said the ministry’s announcement came as “no surprise.”

Victoria Fire Department investigating explosion at supportive housing complex

The explosion blew out a window and caused damage to the frame of the building

Conservation: Two elk unlawfully shot in Northern Vancouver Island

‘The elk also did not have all of the edible portions of meat removed’

Greater Victoria survey shows third of respondents did not pay, or partially paid rent for April

Survey of 70 respondents says 40 per cent expect they will not be able to pay May rent

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

442 squadron to perform fly-by over Comox Valley hospital to salute COVID-19 workers

Cormorant helicopter will fly over the hospital at 7 p.m.

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

Police watchdog clears West Shore RCMP in altercation that led to man needing 82 staples

The man pretended he had a weapon he would use against the police

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Mid-Island Panago locations offer free pizza to first responders

First responder can get free pizza at Panago in Parksville, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Duncan, and Mill Bay

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Most Read