The Philadelphia Flyers are taking in paralyzed Humboldt Broncos hockey player Ryan Straschnitzki.
The 19-year-old defenseman is one of 13 survivors from the tragic bus crash that killed 16 people April 6 in Saskatchewan.
Straschnitzki was left paralyzed from the chest down after the bus carrying the Broncos hockey team to a playoff game collided with a semi-trailer at a rural intersection.
After a six-week recovery began in Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre, Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia stepped in and offered their top-notch facility and services free of charge.
Straschnitzki was wheeled on a stretcher into Shriners on May 31 and expected to rehab there for six to eight weeks.
Straschnitzki attended the Flyers 2018 Development Camp on Friday, as he was wheeled into a perch overlooking the ice at the Flyers’ practice facility.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 29, 2018
Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall and other members of the organization came to visit Straschnitzki. Defenseman Sam Morin heard Straschnitzki was in the building and stopped by for a chat.
Hextall, who was trying to keep it together, said the tragedy has brought out the best in hockey.
“Ryan’s an inspiring young man. He’s special, he really is,” said Hextall. “He’s not feeling sorry for himself.”
“I remember when the accident happened for myself and everybody else involved in hockey, including you guys, it … it hit home. Most of us have ridden buses, and still ride buses and for something like that to happen, it hit really close to home for everybody.”
“You know what, you have a bad day, and you think things are going bad for you and then you look at a kid like Ryan with a positive attitude. You just give your head a shake and say, ‘Life’s not so bad. You better turn your attitude here a little bit.’
“It’s been inspiring for myself. I don’t want to speak for everybody else, but I don’t know how you can’t be inspired to be around the young man.”
The Flyers prospects paused during camp Friday and raised their sticks toward Straschnitzki for a traditional salute.
According to Dave Isaac of the Courier Post, Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald offered Straschnitzki his house in Philadelphia as well as his car for as long as he’ll be in town.
Ryan Straschnitzki and his dad Tom visited the Flyers. Ron Hextall clearly touched to meet them. Said Andrew MacDonald offered the family his house and his car while they were/are in Philly. pic.twitter.com/B7kR5JBQd8
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) June 29, 2018
Straschnitzki is well ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and is supposedly returning to his home in Airdrie, Alberta next weekend.
“I’ve made quite a bit of progress,” Ryan said. “I was supposed to be in Philly for six to eight weeks. Then the rehab pushed me to my limits and I’m supposedly returning home next weekend.”
“I’m excited and I can’t thank the Shriners enough.”
Straschnitzki has helped inspire countless people in the hockey community, and it’s clear the Philadelphia Flyers are no exception.