Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki arrived back in his native Alberta on Wednesday after several weeks of treatment in the U.S.
The 19-year-old was paralyzed from the chest down when a semi-trailer and the bus carrying his hockey team crashed on a rural Saskatchewan highway in April.
Following a hospital stay in Saskatchewan and further treatment in Calgary, the Airdrie native was airlifted to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia for specialized spinal treatment.
Speaking to media after getting off the plane, Straschnitzki said he was most looking forward to seeing friends and family now that he’s home.
He said the therapy in Philadephia was a “whole other game,” adding that experiencing the city was a fun experience.
Along with his doctors working hard to make sure he could make it to the NHL Awards with some of his fellow teammates, Straschnitzki also got the opportunity to meet members of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and see a Philadephia Phillies baseball game.
“It was awesome, they were such good guys,” he said.
WATCH: Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki in Philadelphia for rehabilitation
Straschnitzki said he’s feeling more hopeful about his recovery after spending the time at the Shriners hospital.
“I’m confident in my skills now and now it’s just practice to get good at it.”
Over the next few weeks, crews will be busy at the Straschnitzki household, making it accessible for Ryan for his return home.
In the meantime, the family will stay in a hotel and Straschnitzki said his focus will be to spend time with friends and family and taking his girlfriend to the Calgary Stampede.
Straschnitzki’s father, Tom, said it felt “fantastic” to land at home in Calgary. He said the treatment and therapy Ryan received made significant improvements, especially in his strength.
“He did have his ups and downs like everyone else does but … it worked out.”
Tom said the next steps in his son’s recovery will be seeing if he can do the physiotherapy by himself in his own room at home.