‘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

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Wet’suwet’en return to camps near Houston, Coastal GasLink workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Northern Health recommends self-quarantine for people returning from Hubei

The healthcare provider said it isn’t neccessary for healthy children to wear face masks

CN blockade taken down as federal, provincial representatives agree to meet with hereditary chiefs

CN blockade taken down as federal, provincial representatives agree to meet with hereditary chiefs

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

No dramatic shifts expected as B.C. government tables new budget today

Finance Minister Carole James has promised to stay the course when she tables the budget in the legislature

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Most Read