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

COVID-19 case confirmed at Highstreet Walmart in Abbotsford

Fraser Health sends out letter to those who might have had contact with individual

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

$25 million Fraser Valley highway project 18 months behind schedule

Ministry says information security protocols have ‘evolved’ since construction on project wrapped up

Public participation is coming back to Chilliwack council meetings

City of Chilliwack will use Zoom video conferencing to allow the public to make presentations

VIDEO: Trees fall into Vedder River as loop trail damaged by erosion

High stream flows directed at river bank caused section of Vedder Rotary loop trail to erode

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: Homeless person struck by freight train in Abbotsford

Victim required airlift to hospital, MacLure Road shut down for hours

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Most Read