Vetere solid on ice, ‘rough’ on the floor
by Blaine Meller
Joe Vetere is a man on a mission. Two missions, actually. Not only is the Cougars blue- liner hoping to guide the men’s hockey team to its 13th ACAC title and first since 2006, Vetere will be taking a shot at cracking the Calgary Roughnecks roster as well. Vetere played in one game with the Roughnecks in 2009, an exhibition tilt against the Edmonton Rush, and hopes to suit up for the locals again this season. The two-time National Lacrosse League (NLL) champions open training camp Dec. 4.
“My coaches have been really supportive, said Vetere. “Jean (Laforest) has allowed me to experience the things I need to experience.” “I need to go into training camp and prove myself to my coaches and teammates,” he said. On the ice, Vetere and the Cougars are experiencing a solid start to their season, with ten wins and two ties in 15 games, good enough for second place in the ACAC.
Success as a team has translated into individual success for the third-year defence- man as well, as Vetere leads the ACAC in points by a rearguard. In the 14 games he’s played, Vetere has contributed three goals and 20 points, something he credits to opportunity. “I’ve been getting more time on the powerplay, more opportunity to show my skills. Jean has given us the freedom to go out, be creative and aggressive on the power play,” he said.
Vetere, now 23, has been playing organized lacrosse for seven years. Once the current hockey season ends, he will travel to Langley to play in the British Columbia senior league, with and against a number of his potential Roughnecks teammates.
One of those teammates is Kaleb Toth, someone Vetere has known for a long time.
“Kaleb is like a brother to me. He’s taught me things I couldn’t imagine even knowing,” said Vetere. “He’s so driven and al- ways works really hard.” But what would happen if the two ever fought in a game? “I don’t even want to go there,” he laughed. “Maybe I could take him on points.” Playing two sports, especially ones with similar skill-sets, has made Vetere better at both.
The hand-eye coordination needed in each sport helps the other, and there are the fitness benefits as well.
Because of his commitment to both hockey and lacrosse, Vetere doesn’t enjoy much of an off- season. With hockey running from September until March, and lacrosse potentially from May until August, he doesn’t get much time to rest and allow his body to recover.
Vetere hopes all the hard work will pay off down the road as he pursues a third goal, playing professional hockey in Europe, just as his uncle did. Specifically, he would love to play in Italy. He knows the road ahead will need to be paved with blood, sweat, and maybe even some tears. But should his missions end in championship gold, the journey will have been worth it.