One, 19-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki, was paralyzed from the waist down in the crash, but vowed afterwards that he was going to take up sledge hockey and compete in the Paralympics. And Straschnitzki took the first step towards that goal Tuesday, spending an hour practicing sledge hockey at Calgary’s Winsport Centre under the tutelage of former Canadian national team player Chris Cederstrand. Bill Graveland of The Canadian Press has more from Straschnitzki on how that went:
“It feels like when you’re on the ice you have nothing to worry about so I just like being out here and having fun,” said Straschnitzki.
“It’s pretty exciting. I mean, you’re learning a new way to play the game and I’m enjoying it so it’s good. I’m still working on it and hopefully I’ll get better,” he added.
…“It’s the balancing for sure. The sled and the way you move is a lot different so that’s something I’ve got to work on,” he said.
“I’ll just keep practising sledge to hopefully get good and long term make the Olympic team and win a gold medal, but for now I’m just out here having fun.”
Here’s a video of Straschnitzki’s workout Tuesday:
It’s pretty cool to see Straschnitzki working towards this goal. And while there are obviously challenges towards learning a sport as different as sledge hockey, Cederstrand had high praise for him, saying “He came out and he picked it up amazingly quick, and he’s a kid that’s willing to put in the time and effort, so the sky’s the world for him in sledge hockey.” It’s certainly neat to see him trying this.