Injured Humboldt Broncos defenceman relearning the sport he loves
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2018 8:36PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 11, 2018 5:10PM EDT
Injured Humboldt Broncos defenceman Ryan Straschnitzki, who lost the use of his legs in April when the bus carrying his hockey team and a semi-truck collided in rural Saskatchewan, has returned to the ice for the first time.
Just weeks after he was discharged from the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, where he received specialized spinal treatment, the 19-year-old hit the ice two weeks ago to play sledge hockey.
And while he may be relearning a sport that he has played for virtually his entire life, Straschnitzki told CTV Calgary he was happy to be back.
“When you’re on the ice, you have nothing to worry about,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting learning a new way to play the game and I’m enjoying it.”
Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior ice hockey team and a semi-trailer collided in Saskatchewan Apr. 6, killing 16 people and injuring 13 others.
While he has only been on the sled three times, Straschnitzki has ambitious goals—to be one of the top sledge hockey players in Canada and to one day even make the national team.
He says “balancing” is the most difficult part of the sport.
“The sled and the way you move is a lot different,” Straschnitzki told CTV Calgary. “That’s something I have to work on.”
Coach Chris Cederstrand, who lost a leg in a workplace accident in 2012, said “the sky’s the limit” for Straschnitzki in sledge hockey.
“He came out and he picked it up amazingly quickly,” Cederstrand told CTV Calgary. “He’s a kid willing to put in the time and the effort.”
Straschnitzki said he’s learned more from Cederstrand than just how to master the sport.
“He’s awesome,” Straschnitzki told CTV Calgary. “He went through so much with his accident and he’s taught me to be strong and it’s not the end of the line.”
With a report from CTV Calgary’s Brenna Rose
Day 1 of try outs. First time on ice since April 5. BIGGEST SMILE momma and I have ever seen. Thanks Chris Cederstrand and Okotoks Rink for this. Yes Corban Knight (Flyers) and Erika and I were out there also. It is NOT easy. pic.twitter.com/NXOyFqc6kf— Strazsr (@strazsr) July 21, 2018