‘I’ll get better’: Paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player working to improve at sledge hockey


Ryan Straschnitzki spent an hour at his second residence Tuesday.

The 19-year-old Albertan, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey workforce, spent an hour practising sledge hockey at the Winsport Centre in Calgary below the watchful eye of former nationwide workforce member Chris Cederstrand.

“It looks like whenever you’re on the ice you don’t have anything to fear about so I similar to being out right here and having enjoyable,” mentioned Straschnitzki.

“It is fairly thrilling. I imply, you are studying a brand new method to play the sport and I am having fun with it so it is good. I am nonetheless working on it and hopefully I am going to get higher,” he added.

Sledge hockey is among the extra well-liked occasions at the Winter Paralympic Video games. It grew to become an official occasion in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.

As an alternative of skates, gamers use double-blade sledges that enable the puck to go beneath. Gamers use two sticks, which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for taking pictures.

“It is the balancing for certain. The sled and the way in which you progress is rather a lot completely different in order that’s one thing I’ve received to work on,” he mentioned.

Straschnitzki was injured within the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. (Todd Korol/The Canadian Press)

“I am going to simply maintain practising sledge to hopefully get good and long run make the Olympic workforce and win a gold medal, however for now I am simply out right here having enjoyable.”

Cederstrand, who retired from the nationwide workforce 18 months in the past, mentioned Ryan is getting the cling of it fairly rapidly.

“He got here out and he picked it up amazingly fast and he is a child keen to put within the effort and time, so the sky is the world for him in sledge hockey,” Cederstrand mentioned.

“It clearly takes plenty of work and apply however Ryan’s received that drive and ambition to do this, so we’re hoping for one of the best for him.”

Cederstrand mentioned mixed with Ryan’s work ethic, taking part in sledge hockey ought to do wonders for his long run restoration. (Todd Korol/The Canadian Press)

Sixteen folks died April 6 when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos to a playoff sport collided with a semi-trailer at a rural intersection. 13 others, together with Straschnitzki, have been injured.

Cederstrand mentioned mixed with Ryan’s work ethic, taking part in sledge hockey ought to do wonders for his long run restoration.

“I believe it is completely superb for him. I do know what it is like to be a younger child aspiring to play hockey for a profession. As a younger child taking part in junior hockey, the ice is your second residence,” he mentioned.

Cederstrand was all around the ice, whipping his sled round and firing pucks into the web. It is what Straschnitzki is aiming for.

“He is insane. The turns, the photographs. It is one thing I would like to do some day.”




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