Injured Humboldt Broncos player returns home for first time since accident

The family has been living in hotels since July while the home was renovated

After more than a year since Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki was injured he is finally retuning home to Airdrie, Alta., Saturday, April 27, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The mother of injured Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki has shed a lot of tears over the past year and that didn’t change as the family finally returned to its newly renovated home Saturday.

Michelle Straschnitzki was handed a box of tissues by her husband, Tom, as the entire clan walked into the family home in Airdrie, just north of Calgary.

But this time it was tears of joy.

“It is. It’s been a heck of a year and a bit, but we’re going to celebrate this moment and keep in mind why we’re here now and everybody’s still in our hearts. We’re grateful to be home,” she said wiping away tears.

Ryan Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down in the April 6, 2018, crash between a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos and a semi-trailer. Sixteen people died and 13 others, including Straschnitzki, were injured.

The family has been living in hotels since July while the home was renovated. It now includes an elevator down to Straschnitzki’s new man cave in the basement and a separate heating unit for his bedroom because he’s unable to sense when his body is too hot or too cold.

It also includes hockey memorabilia including a framed jersey from his favourite player, Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, his number 10 Broncos jersey and a big-screen TV and sound system.

“Awesome. This is too good to be true. It’s amazing. Wow,” Straschnitzki beamed.

“I’m like speechless. Everything has just been amazing and you saw my mom with the tears going on. Just her reaction shows what this house is like and it’s like a whole new house and I’m really excited.”

Straschnitzki intends to have his friends over to watch the rest of the NHL playoffs and he’s thrilled to have his life return to a bit of normalcy.

“It gives me more independence with the laundry room and the open bedroom. Even having all the controls here — I can do it on my own and don’t have to depend on other people.”

Her son’s smile prompted more tears from Michelle Straschnitzki.

“It’s been a long time and that was a genuine smile. Also, knowing Ryan can do what he wants now. He can live his life the way he needs to and he can come and go as he pleases, more or less,” she said.

Tom Straschnitzki said his son’s smile has only been this bright once before since the accident.

“The last time he lit up like that was last July when he first got back on the ice,” he said, referring to his son’s new sport of sledge hockey.

A lone hockey stick was propped up at the front door.

Neighbours turned out to welcome the family, and many sat in lawn chairs across the street before the beginning of what appeared to be a huge block party.

“It’s not going to end. I think it’s going to go until next Saturday probably,” said Michelle Straschnitzki.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

North Island students are back in class, sitting six-feet apart

School District 85 schools reopened June 1 for students who want to come in person

Universal basic income is a good thing

‘I’ve always loved change, so I’m rooting for a different way of life altogether’

Port Hardy school sending food home to students in need

Hunger doesn’t take the weekend — or a pandemic — off

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read