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

Youth-led projects eligible for grants from Nanaimo Foundation and RBC

Nanaimo Foundation teaming with RBC Future Launch Community Challenge

Clippers play against each other, get ready to play against someone else

Nanaimo’s junior A hockey team held its Rhodesie Cup intrasquad game Wednesday

Nanoose Bay’s Northwest Bay Road again open to the public

Single-lane alternating traffic expected to stretch into September

Ski coach Bertrand Charest’s sentence for sexual abuse reduced

Appeal court judge: ‘His narcissistic personality is still present’

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

VIEX all set for 125th anniversary fair

Vancouver Island Exhibition taking place at Nanaimo’s Beban Park from Aug. 23-25

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 22

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo’s ‘Kidney Condo’ accommodates out-of-town dialysis patients

Facility first of its kind on Vancouver Island, according to Kidney Foundation of Canada

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read