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.

Just Posted

Vedder Rotary trail network in Chilliwack will be closed for five days on the south side

The upgrade will take until Friday so trail users asked to take alternate routes

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

UPDATE: RCMP confirm body of missing Chilliwack senior found

Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk had severe dementia

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

UPDATE: Police response on Cheam First Nation a ‘non-event’, RCMP say

More than two dozen RCMP and ERT vehicles were at the First Nation looking for a known fugitive

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read