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

Leafs lose marathon season opener

Nelson fell 3-2 to Fernie in double overtime

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

CHECK THIS OUT: Libraries as safe spaces for the homeless

Anne DeGrace writes about an upcoming movie and talk focused on libraries and homelessness

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

PLACE NAMES: Kaslo and Sandon neighbourhoods

Narrow valley saw Sandon’s main street over a creek

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

Most Read