Cranbrook, B.C. – It is still unclear which team former ICE forward Colton Veloso will play for next season, but there is a good chance it will be for a club at the professional level.
It is an exciting opportunity for Veloso, who has secured a tryout with the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose. The Moose play out of Winnipeg, which happens to be Veloso’s hometown.
As many players do once graduating from major junior hockey, Veloso spent some time during the summer trying to figure out which direction to take his career. His decision became a lot easier when the Moose came calling.
“I got a call and the Moose wanted me to come out to their camp and that kind of changed things for me,” Veloso explained. “I feel like going there and giving it a shot, seeing what happens, was the best choice for me.”
Despite not knowing which team he will play for next season, Veloso plans to spend the 2018-19 campaign with a pro organization. After the ICE concluded their schedule last season, Veloso dipped his foot into the pro hockey pool, playing four games for the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. Veloso said the team is excited at the thought of him returning.
“I talked to the coach, Jason, and he said that he’s excited and he sees big things from me this year.”
Veloso made his pro debut with the Icemen on March 31 against the Carolina Stingrays. He said he experienced some nerves before puck drop but, “once I got on the ice for my first shift I thought, it’s just playing hockey, you’ve been doing it your whole life so it was just routine.”
The Icemen coaching staff wasted no time in putting Veloso and his talents to the test. Veloso was inserted on the power play in his ECHL debut, and in his first pro game Veloso said he had a couple quality chances to score. He finished the game with two shots on goal.
At the end of his four-game stint with the Icemen, Veloso felt he played well, stating, “I think they gave me a good opportunity and I think I made the most of it.”
Before heading to Florida, Veloso experienced his best WHL season with the ICE. He finished with 25 goals and 22 assists for 47 points in 71 games (the goal, assist and point totals were WHL career highs). Veloso finished second on the team in goals (25), ranked fifth in points (47), ranked first in power play goals (11) and ranked fourth in shots on goal (156).
Veloso finished his WHL career with 55 goals and 44 assists for 99 points in 227 regular season games.
“I’m really thankful for all the friendships and people I’ve met along the way.”
No doubt, more friendships and memories will be made as Veloso heads into a new season on a new team in a new league.