Paralyzed Humboldt Broncos players back on the ice

Former Humboldt Broncos teammates Ryan Straschnitzki and Jacob Wassermann back together

It was just a pickup hockey game between family and friends but the significance was not lost on former Humboldt Broncos teammates Ryan Straschnitzki and Jacob Wassermann.

The two young men tested out sledge hockey sleds at an arena in Denver in anticipation of a short exhibition game during an extended first period of a National Collegiate Athletic Association game between the University of Denver Pioneers and the Providence Friars on Friday night.

It soon turned into a game of shinny marking the first time both Straschnitzki and Wassermann were on the ice together since the junior hockey players were seriously injured in a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., last spring.

“Some of those guys out there are really … good and being out with Straz was amazing,” said 18-year-old Wassermann, who was set up by Straschnitzki for a goal. “I haven’t been out on the ice with him for some time so that was a really good feeling.”

RELATED: ‘I’m pretty pumped:’ On-ice reunion for injured Humboldt Broncos

Wassermann was playing as a forward, instead of his former position as a goaltender, so he could get used to using the sled.

“I’ve been a goalie my whole life, so I’m not really a scorer or anything. All that playing out there is pretty much new to me, being a goalie when I was very young, but it’s fun though.”

Straschnitzki, 19, has had a lot more time playing sledge hockey and was impressed with Wassermann’s goal.

“I set him up for a nice one. I think it was pretty cool. We got to see each other on the ice and it was fun. This was just a little warm-up for tonight,” he said.

The two players were presented with autographed Hanson Brothers jerseys from the original movie “Slapshot.” There was a lot of laughter and on-ice banter.

“That was fantastic to see them. That was the first time they’ve been on the ice together since April 5 and the smiles those two had and the chit-chats,” said Ryan Straschnitzki’s father, Tom Straschnitzki.

“I think they were trying to hit each other too.”

RELATED: ‘It’s a road trip that we never finished:’ Humboldt Broncos back on the ice

The junior hockey careers for the two players ended April 6 when the Humboldt Broncos team bus and a semi-trailer collided. Sixteen people were killed and 13 injured. Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down and Wassermann from below the navel.

Wassermann’s father, Kirby Wassermann, had mixed feelings as he watched the two former teammates play.

“It’s really nice to see them out there again together. It’s been since April and I know Jacob’s been really excited for the trip,” he said.

“But at the same time it brings a lot of things back and … it’s hard too.”

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

Award-winning documentary shares the modern story of Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Broadcast premiere of documentary will take place in Port Alberni on Jan. 29

Australian investigators head to C-130 plane crash site

B.C. gov’t makes statement, sends condolences to Coulson Aviation

UPDATED: Tofino-Ucluelet highway will be open for “essential travel only” on Friday

Vehicles will be screened at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and at Sproat Lake.

Veteran Island journalist battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Most Read