Every hockey team talks about “character guys” in a dressing room – something easily said and difficult to quantify, but when you see them out on the ice they are unmistakable. That’s exactly what Jack Walchessen was for the Petes for five years between 2006 and 2011. However, Jack had to grow into the young man the Petes would dress for half a decade.
“Jack came in very young, very home sick and a bit rough around the edges, but he became the sweetest, kindest person I ever met and some one I always want to keep in my life – he’s become like my son and someone I look up to and look out for,” Maureen Harris-Lowe said, a billet for Jack for his entire career with the Petes.
Jack remembers the struggles of transitioning to Junior Hockey.
“It was tough at first as I was 16 years old and five hours from home. Jeff Twohey was the GM at the time and I remember crying in his office because I wasn’t sure what to do, whether I wanted to stay and sign or go home,” recalls Walchessen. “It was a very tough decision especially when my older brother was playing Division one, so he was pulling me that way. In the end I think I made the right decision because I met some amazing people, teammates that I’m friends with hopefully for the rest of my life, and my billets are like a second family to me.”
While Jack doubted himself that day in the Petes office, Paul Harris-Lowe and Twohey believed in what Jack could bring to the Petes.
“I remember Jeff Twohey saying ‘that kid is going to be wearing a letter some day’ and that was before he had even made the team. He was just a real character kid,” Paul said.
The former Petes GM’s prediction would prove to be right as prior to the 2010-11 season Jack was named Captain of the Maroon and White. Jack says that being named Petes’ Captain was the greatest moment of his junior career because it is such a storied franchise. Jack was the type of guy to do anything for his team, but he won’t forget what the team has done for him.
“Peterborough is all about growing individuals – they produce great hockey players, but there were guys that left a lot better people and I know I am one of them. My time there pretty much determined who I am now just from my five years there, but those are important years though,” Jack said.
Jack is still around hockey and is trying to help grow the sport in his home state of New Jersey.
“I own Walchessen Hockey that offers private lessons and summer hockey camps. I am also launching my website in a couple weeks that will provide subscription based online ice hockey lessons. It will be more than just a short video of a couple of drills a team could do – it will actually break down each skill of modern day hockey and include explanations of the body mechanics that are involved for proper implementation.” Jack said. “Hockey is something that I love and it’s something I did my whole life. It was agood way to not sit behind a desk and continue doing something that I love and help kids in the area I grew up in. I want to teach them things I didn’t learn until I got to Peterborough – that was my motivation to teach these kids stuff that players like Zach Bogosian, Slater Koekkoek and Ryan Spooner already perfected when they got to Peterborough. By breaking down what makes a good hockey player today, so that kids can understand it.”
Jack was a terrific young man during his time in Peterborough and the Petes Hockey Club could not be happier for the success Jack has found with his camps. We at the Petes would like to wish him the best of luck this summer and beyond.
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