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.
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.”