Lethbridge, AB – Sixteen-year-old Salvatore Collora Jr. has inked an agreement to play hockey for the Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club in Alberta, Canada.
The Hurricanes are a member of the Western Hockey League.
Salvatore, as one could imagine, was ecstatic over the offer.
“It was surreal. I grew up watching WHL games with my family and when I got the offer to play in the league, it was like a dream come true.”
Salvatore, at 6’3” and 175-pounds, played for the St. George’s School Elite 15 last season. He appeared in 35 games, scored 10 goals, dished out 20 assists and served 16 minutes in the penalty box.
When he was invited to the Hurricanes training camp this year, he made the most of it.
“There are always nerves (when you are trying to make the team), but I knew that I just had to play my game and have confidence in myself,” Salvatore said. “I just played as hard as I can, and felt that was good enough to make it.”
Salvatore will play center for the Hurricanes. His parents Amy and Salvatore were thrilled he made the cut.
“We were very happy that the Hurricanes organization recognized all of Salvatore’s hard work and saw the potential for the future,” Amy said. “When we started down this path two years ago having Sal play in Canada we were hoping something like this would happen for him.”
Salvatore attends Woodinville High School but will be traveling to Lethbridge to play in games for the Hurricanes during the season.
Balancing schoolwork and playing semi-pro hockey appears to be a daunting task, but Salvatore is handling it quite well.
“It’s definitely challenging to juggle the two, but I have gotten used to it over the years. It has become a routine and a test of time management.”
It may be routine and a test of time management as Salvatore put it, but it is also a testament of his determination and commitment to not put his education on the back burner.
“Salvatore is an excellent student with a 4.0 GPA, Amy said. “When you play high-level hockey you have to work closely with teachers and coaches to make everything work. We are very confident he will maintain his grades and stay disciplined.”
Salvatore first took an interest in hockey at a very young age.
“I was around 4-years-old. My brother and Dad were very into the sport.”
Amy recalls him being a bit younger.
“He was 2-years-old when he first started playing with the plastic sticks and puck with his brother. We are big hockey fans so it was always on TV.”
Salvatore said he chose hockey over the traditional mainstream sports because of its competitiveness and quickness. “It’s unlike any other.”
Although Salvatore is still living in Woodinville, he said the possibility of relocating to Lethbridge is a reality, depending on what happens next season.
His hope is to make it to the big leagues one day.
“I’d love to make a professional carrier out of this,” Salvatore said. “That has been the plan since I first fell in love with the game.”
Amy and Salvatore couldn’t be more proud of their son.
“We are proud of him, but, it’s more than that. It’s a quiet validation of everything we’ve worked for as parents,” Amy said. “Having him away in pursuit his dream was very difficult for all members of our family. It’s been difficult balancing time with our other son, work, and family commitments. It’s a dream come true for Jr. and it’s very special to watch the dream become a reality.”