Third time’s the charm

Adam Williams, Sports Editor Ω

It took three years of recruiting and a lot of effort but the WolfPack finally convinced Alessio Tomassetti to play hockey for Thompson Rivers University — so far it’s a decision that’s paying dividends.

Tomassetti was named the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League’s (BCIHL) player of the week for the week ending Nov. 17. With four goals and three assists against the Eastern Washington University Eagles Nov. 16 and 17, Tomassetti found the extra gear that made him such an attractive recruit for WolfPack general manager Chris Hans.

“He was the dominant player on the ice,” Hans said. “It was determination. It wasn’t like Eastern Washington rolled over and allowed him to collect all those points. He’s a deceptively strong hockey player. I think, one, he’s a good athlete and you combine the strength and the determination and this past weekend served as a wakeup call to the rest of the league, what to expect from Alessio for the rest of the season.”

Tomassetti’s seven-point weekend brings him to a total of 15 points in nine games played — second on the team in scoring. The combination of Tomassetti, Lucas Daoust and Colten DeFrias has been clutch for the ‘Pack, combining for 39 of the WolfPack’s 93 points. Tomassetti plays a high-skill game and uses his speed to his advantage, but says said the key to his success thus far has been simple.

“Hard work in practice. I go to practice and work hard every time we’re on the ice,” Tomassetti said. “My linemates — Colten DeFrias and Lucas Daoust — they help a lot out there too with their speed and our cycling down low. So that helps out quite a bit.”

Expectations for Tomassetti and Co. continue to rise and though he is a rookie in the BCIHL, Hans and head coach Don Schulz refuse to treat him as such. He and fellow rookie Rigby Burghart bring a special dynamic to the club.

“I think they both bring a lot of experience that the other players don’t bring,” Hans said. “Alessio for example, played in the B.C. Hockey League in Junior A, he also played in Ontario Junior A, played in a Western Canadian championship with the [Kamloops] Storm. Rigby played in the B.C. Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. Both of them stepped up big time on this past weekend and I knew it was just a matter of time for them to feel comfortable.”

Tomassetti’s ability to perform when he’s needed most is part of what attracted Hans to him. Tomassetti played for coach Schulz three years ago when Schulz was with the Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL); Schulz still remembers him as the best player for the Storm in the Western Canadian championship. Tomassetti also had prior experience with a lot of the WolfPack’s roster and came highly recommended by players and coaches alike. It’s a testament to the type of player and person Tomassetti is.

So while it took a few attempts for Hans to bring Tomassetti to the WolfPack dressing room, the move seems to have worked out for everyone involved.

“It’s a good transition actually, good pace, good speed,” Tomassetti said. “ It’s better hockey for sure than the KIJHL.

“It was an honour to be named player of the week, this week.”

It took three years of recruiting and a lot of effort but the WolfPack finally convinced Alessio Tomassetti to play hockey for Thompson Rivers University — so far it’s a decision that’s paying dividends.

Tomassetti was named the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League’s (BCIHL) player of the week for the week ending Nov. 17. With four goals and three assists against the Eastern Washington University Eagles Nov. 16 and 17, Tomassetti found the extra gear that made him such an attractive recruit for WolfPack general manager Chris Hans.

“He was the dominant player on the ice,” Hans said. “It was determination. It wasn’t like Eastern Washington rolled over and allowed him to collect all those points. He’s a deceptively strong hockey player. I think, one, he’s a good athlete and you combine the strength and the determination and this past weekend served as a wakeup call to the rest of the league, what to expect from Alessio for the rest of the season.”

Tomassetti’s seven-point weekend brings him to a total of 15 points in nine games played — second on the team in scoring. The combination of Tomassetti, Lucas Daoust and Colten DeFrias has been clutch for the ‘Pack, combining for 39 of the WolfPack’s 93 points. Tomassetti plays a high-skill game and uses his speed to his advantage, but says said the key to his success thus far has been simple.

“Hard work in practice. I go to practice and work hard every time we’re on the ice,” Tomassetti said. “My linemates — Colten DeFrias and Lucas Daoust — they help a lot out there too with their speed and our cycling down low. So that helps out quite a bit.”

Expectations for Tomassetti and Co. continue to rise and though he is a rookie in the BCIHL, Hans and head coach Don Schulz refuse to treat him as such. He and fellow rookie Rigby Burghart bring a special dynamic to the club.

“I think they both bring a lot of experience that the other players don’t bring,” Hans said. “Alessio for example, played in the B.C. Hockey League in Junior A, he also played in Ontario Junior A, played in a Western Canadian championship with the [Kamloops] Storm. Rigby played in the B.C. Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. Both of them stepped up big time on this past weekend and I knew it was just a matter of time for them to feel comfortable.”

Tomassetti’s ability to perform when he’s needed most is part of what attracted Hans to him. Tomassetti played for coach Schulz three years ago when Schulz was with the Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL); Schulz still remembers him as the best player for the Storm in the Western Canadian championship. Tomassetti also had prior experience with a lot of the WolfPack’s roster and came highly recommended by players and coaches alike. It’s a testament to the type of player and person Tomassetti is.

So while it took a few attempts for Hans to bring Tomassetti to the WolfPack dressing room, the move seems to have worked out for everyone involved.

“It’s a good transition actually, good pace, good speed,” Tomassetti said. “ It’s better hockey for sure than the KIJHL.

“It was an honour to be named player of the week, this week.”

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