‘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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mounties respond to report of shots fired in Cloverdale

They took 12 people into custody but found no evidence shots were actually fired

Clover Valley Beer Festival cancelled

Cloverdale beer fest falls victim to COVID-19

All Safe Surrey Coalition council members must ‘step up’ over ‘bad taste’ tweets, rivals say

Slate’s posts on social media in ‘bad taste,’ councillor says

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

After 40 years on the job, White Rock’s fire chief retires

From flood to fire, Phil Lemire has been at the forefront whenever disaster struck

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Importance of accurate, ethical reporting more critical than ever

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Most Read