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

Just Posted

Invermere gets new CAO

Invermere found his new CAO after a long period of research.

Radium council discusses short term rentals

RHS council are elaborating the second draft plan for STR

Farmers’ Institute report highlights emerging local food scene

Beef cattle ranching remains mainstay of valley agriculture

Beautification process begins in Canal Flats downtown

Canal Flats wants to improve the esthetic of the town

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read