AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - With just over a month left in the NAHL regular season, the Bulls look to score a few extra points to take over the tough South Division lead. The Bulls have a strong bond, including two players from abroad. Forwards Paul Schmid and Jere Vaisanen found their home with the Bulls in October, and since then have made a huge impact on the team. They’ve got strong chemistry on the ice that was built before coming to Amarillo.
“I don’t know how many other guys have played together in multiple countries who aren’t even from the same country,” said Vaisanen
Schmid’s home is back in Austria and Vaisanen is from Finland, and both athletes played for the Nordic Hockey Academy before joining the Bulls.
“I was in contact with the Bulls for quite a while before I came here, and they made me feel like they were very interested,” said Schmid.
“We had watched some video of him and got to communicate with him and his coach at the Nordic Hockey Academy. Sam the coach called and said Jere is interested as well, and I said is that the winger that’s playing on Paul’s line in the video? I said I like him quite a bit,” said Head Coach Rocky Russo.
Now they’re roommates again, calling Amarillo home, thanks to the Tortoreo family who’s hosted Bull’s players since 2014.
“These kids are focused, smart, hardworking. Get after it every single day,” said Tom Tortoreo. “It’s also very interesting because over the past couple of years we’ve gotten the Europeans.”
“I’m always screaming they’re first name, come on Paul, go Jere,” said Kathy Tortoreo. “Then we’ve had people turnaround and ask are those your kids?” “We go no.” “Heck no, I say yes.”
The Tortoreo family loves the memories, especially when they see their athletes secure that Division 1 scholarship.
“I committed to Bemidji State University. It’s in Northern Minnesota. They’re one of the top hockey programs in the country.”
Paul and Jere love hockey, but they’re not always on the ice. They also enjoy golf, and if you’re Paul’s roommate you will learn he’s not a quiet sleeper.
“He talks in his sleep, but I don’t know what languages. He talks different languages in his sleep,” said Vaisanen.
“When he hears me I speak German or something,” said Schmid. “Like he doesn’t understand German or sometimes I talk Norwegian when the person doesn’t understand Norwegian.
No matter the country or personality, they both can agree on one thing.
“I mean it’s a beautiful sport like there’s so much skill to it. Not a lot of people can do it,” said Schmid.