Bray­den Cam­rud (26) And Derek Pat­ter (23), the only re­turn­ing Bron­cos play­ers who were in­volved in the Bus crash that killed 16 mem­bers of the team in April, hug dur­ing A Cer­e­mony Be­fore humboldt’s first game of the sea­son Wed­nes­day night.

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - RYAN MCKENNA With files from Bill Graveland The Canadian Press

HUMBOLDT, SASK. As the Humboldt Bron­cos re­turned to the ice Wed­nes­day night, Air­drie’s Ryan Straschnitzki wasn’t there.

Straschnitzki, who was par­a­lyzed from the chest down in the team’s bus crash in April, opted not to watch the sea­son opener in per­son. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to watch the game on TV, even though it’s been on his mind.

“It’s not my team any­more,” Straschnitzki said. “I wish them the best of luck, but it’s not my team and it’s go­ing to be hard to watch know­ing that I should be out there.”

Tom Straschnitzki said he un­der­stands why his son might be hes­i­tant.

“He should be play­ing in this home opener today as with the other play­ers,” he said. “It’s a dif­fi­cult day.”

The Bron­cos played their home opener Wed­nes­day against the Ni­pawin Hawks — the same team the Bron­cos were sup­posed to face the night of the crash.

Six­teen peo­ple, in­clud­ing 10 play­ers, were killed and 13 play­ers were in­jured. Bray­den Cam­rud and Derek Pat­ter are the only two sur­vivors that are back play­ing with the ju­nior A team this sea­son.

The Bron­cos lost their coach, Darcy Hau­gan, in the crash. The team’s new coach, Nathan Oys­trick, said he’s fo­cus­ing on his play­ers and has spo­ken with ev­ery mem­ber at some point to let them know he is there for them.

“I’m an open guy,” he said Tues­day. “If there is some­thing that is both­er­ing them, they can come and talk to me when­ever they want.”

Bron­cos pres­i­dent Jamie Brock­man said the team is grate­ful for all the sup­port it has re­ceived from across Canada and the world. Wed­nes­day’s game and trib­ute to last year’s team is a turn­ing point for many, he said Wed­nes­day.

“We’re go­ing to find out what our new nor­mal is af­ter today,” Brock­man said. “We are strong and we are go­ing to sur­vive and we are go­ing to move for­ward.”


Ryan Straschnitzki


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