Colasimone, Wammes bring Canadian culture to Jr. Eagles
After playing the 2014-15 season in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, Mac Colasimone made the jump to the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) this season with the Colorado Jr. Eagles, a move he hopes pays off with an NCAA opportunity down the line.
Colasimone, a 20-year-old forward from Surrey, British Columbia (near Vancouver), was looking at his options after last year and said “it’s actually pretty crazy how I ended up playing here.”
“I was at work last summer and my old Major Midget coach who is now a scout for the Jr. Eagles, Jonathan Taylor, contacted me and mentioned the organization,” explained Colasimone. “Coach (Steve) Haddon got in contact with me shortly after and the rest is history. He assured me I would love it here, and he was absolutely right.
“It’s nice to see snow again. You rarely see snow in the lower mainland of BC.”
Through the first part of the season, Colasimone said it’s easy to realize why the Jr. Eagles are a top franchise in the WSHL.
“From the players, coaching staff, billets, all the way to the fans, the Jr. Eagles organization and staff is one I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he said. “They are always there and want the best for their players. They are always willing to go that extra mile and help us succeed and reach our goals.”
And a superb coach in Haddon certainly adds to the allure of the Jr. Eagles, too.
“Coach Haddon is one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had,” said Colasimone. “He is very easy to approach and talk to. He knows the game extremely well and is always guiding us in the right direction as he has been in our shoes before. He always wants the best for us and puts 100 percent into everything he does. To me, that’s the definition of a great coach.”
Aside from his NCAA aspirations, Colasimone wants to see the Jr. Eagles succeed as a team and make a run to the Thorne Cup.
“We have a great group of guys,” he said. “I really believe we can make it happen.”
The Colorado Jr. Eagles have made hockey fun again for Adam Wammes.
After last season playing junior hockey in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League near his hometown of Petrolia, Ont., Wammes had such a rough go that he considered hanging up the skates with two years of junior eligibility remaining.
“The game wasn’t fun any more,” said Wammes. “Then in late May, my parents told me they had met with a coach from Colorado (Steve Haddon) who wanted to win a cup this year. After talking with my parents and a few guys I knew from Ontario that already played for the Jr. Eagles, they all guaranteed me I would love it here. They were absolutely right. The Northern Colorado area is absolutely beautiful – beautiful mountains, nice, clean, dry air, and no chemical valley like in Ontario.”
With the Jr. Eagles, Wammes is a steady, stay-at-home defenseman who makes a solid first pass out of his own zone. He also provides a physical presence (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and is a vocal leader for the Western States Hockey League club.
“It’s tough to pick one thing that I like most about the organization,” Wammes said. “It’s like playing for a pro team, just how they treat us and how willing they are to help with anything from getting prepared for ACT testing to getting in to see the chiropractor to make sure your ready every weekend. If I were to pick one thing about ‘Hads,’ it would be his style of coaching. He’s the most approachable coach I’ve ever had. I also have to say that my billets made the transition unthinkably easy. From the time they picked me up from the airport to present day, I can say the relationship I have with them is one I hope to keep for the rest of my life.”
Playing the game is also something Wammes hopes he has for the long haul.
“I just want to enjoy the game to the day I die and let it take me as far as possible,” he said.
Colasimone photo/Mark Mauno; Wammes photo/Christine Ferrario
— Matt Mackinder