‘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

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read