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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“The protesters get one side of the story, and they stand up with their fists in the air”: Skin

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Coast Mountain College appoints a new president

The promotion came from within the school

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

Prince Rupert launches community review plan

Prince Rupert launches community review plan with online survery

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Pipeline talks got B.C. railway open, can work again: Horgan

Premier says protest excesses damage Wet’suwet’en case

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

Most Read