During the middle of this year, Ryan Straschnitzki, one of the survivors of the fatal crash which killed sixteen young ice hockey stars, signed a multi-year deal with sportswear manufacturing giant, Adidas. This week the advert in which he is featuring aired for the first time. Straschnitzki has been left paralyzed from his waist down. Yet the young man is still full of hopes and dreams for the future.

On the 6th of April 2018, the Humbro Bronco’s junior team was on their way to a playoff game when Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was distracted by a flapping tarp on the back of his semi-truck and ran over a stop sign. He crashed into the bus and killed sixteen players and left 13 injured. Earlier this year Sidhu was sentenced to eight years in prison after he admitted guilt to 29 counts of reckless driving.

This year Straschnitzki who is from Airdrie, Alta, returned to his former stadium to attend the season-opener against Notre Dame Hounds. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the Bronco’s, and it was a very special event for 20-year-old to attend. It was exactly 526 days after his accident, but he stated that he took the time to heal and knew that now is the time to return.

Holding On To Brilliant Dreams

From a very young age on Straschnitzki wanted to represent his country on an international level. Unfortunately, the dream was taken away on that unfortunate day which landed him in a wheelchair. Yet this young man has a much stronger spirit and will to succeed and now shifted his focus to representing his country in the Canadian Para-ice hockey team. More than that, his dream is for the Canadian team to win gold at the Paralympics scheduled to take place in Beijing in 2022. Of course, he sees himself as part of this team. In the Adidas advertisement, Straschnitzki says that when one door closes, another opens up. This seems to be the life motto of this young ice hockey player. He doesn’t back down from his dreams, regardless of how hard the challenges are which he needs to overcome.

It is this beautiful attitude that earned him the recognition to be nominated for the newly added award at the Canadian Sports Hall of Game, the People’s Choice Award. Winners of this award are being recognized for their brilliant contribution to the sport and their communities. They are also noted as possible future abductees into the Sports Hall of Fame. Recently Straschnitzki also received recognition for the inspiration which he is too many when he was chosen as the champion for a spinal cord research foundation, Wings of Life. Para-sports and Para-ice hockey also nominated him as a champion. This is all much of a surprise to him and his family who mostly believed that the world would forget about him, but with his determination to excel on the ice, this isn’t likely to happen.

Marian Hossa had to take time out of his career during 2016-17 due to a skin disorder which side-lined him. Always still hoping to return, he now made the tough decision to call it quits. Hossa will be joining his team, the Chicago Blackhawks in the stands now. Even though he is convinced that he still has much to offer, he is at peace with the fact that this was the correct decision for him to make.

The 40-year-old forward visited his former teammates this week in Prague. Since he left due to his skin disorder in 2016-2017 season, there have been some changes to the team, yet the rest of the support and admin personnel is still mostly the same. Being back in that environment was an excellent experience for Hossa. Some of the current team members who played with Hossa and again are playing for the Blackhawks are Jonathan Toews, playing centre and the two forwards Andrew Shaw and Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith is still playing in the position of defensemen, and Corey Crawford is still the goaltender. These guys were all part of the team with Hossa between 2009 and 2017.

Hossa’s Career

The Czechoslovakian hockey player was first drafted in 1997 during the NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators where he played during his first seven years in NHL. From there he moved to the Atlanta Thrashers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings before moving on to the Chicago Blackhawks. Hossa was present in five NHL All-Star Games and playing in three consecutive Stanley Cups every time for a different team. Until he won the championships playing for the Blackhawks in 2009-10.

Later on, the Blackhawks did it twice again in 2012-13 and 2014-15. During his career, he accumulated 1 134 points from 525 goals and 609 assists. He did this by playing 1 309 games in the NHL throughout 19 seasons. In June 2017 the Chicago Blackhawks announced that Hossa would miss out on the next season due to a skin condition which he is suffering from and since then he hasn’t been able to play. His contract is still running until 2021, and then Hossa will formally retire. This is a difficult decision that he had to make since he feels that he is still capable of playing a strong game in NHL, but unfortunately, it is a risk which he can’t take.

Stan Bowman, the general manager of the Blackhawks, stated that Hossa’s absence is leaving a significant gap within the team. He brought much more than merely an excellent game to the table. He even said that he thinks that Hossa might have been in a position where he didn’t get enough recognition for the contribution he made. Vice versa, not being part of the team, is also leaving a vacuum in Hossa’s life.

Brock Boeser, forward to the Vancouver Canucks, has suffered a severe knock against his head during their game against Ottawa Senators. They won the game 6-4, but the outcome isn’t as great for Boeser after being checked into the boards headfirst from behind by Chris Tierney, forward for the Senators. Now uncertainty prevails whether Boeser, who is considered vital in the success of the Canucks will be ready and fit for the opening of the season when they take on Edmonton on the 2nd of October.

The incident occurred only a few days after the 22-year-old forward signed a three-year extension contract with the Canucks to the value of $17.625 million on the 16th of September. This was after he was a restricted free agent during the summer. Boeser was 23rd pick during the NHL Draft in 2015. He had 56 points at that stage from 26 goals, and 30 assists gathered from 69 games of play during the previous season. He is standing now on 116 points from 59 goals and 57 assists after playing 140 games in the NHL. Boeser’s performance makes him a vital part in both the short and the long term plans of the Canucks. Travis Green, head coach to the team, stated that they know that he will have to miss out on some playtime, but also that this is part of the game and one of the challenges which a team have to workaround.

Taking a Hit

Only 16 minutes were remaining of the pre-season game against the Senators and Boeser was chasing after a loose puck. Tierney came from behind and bumped Boeser face-first into the boards. Tierney’s actions were considered to be questionable, and he received a minor time-out for the incident. Boeser did, however, manage to get up and finish the remainder of the game even though his injury was quite severe. Monday night, Boeser had to receive treatment for the damage and was placed on concussion control. This was the first time that the forward was ever put on concussion control and he had to miss out on this week’s practice sessions.

In addition to Boeser’s absence, the team also have to deal with the lack of Oscar Fantenberg. Fantenberg also went hard into the boards after being pushed by Jordan Szwarz. After the incident, he only managed a few more minutes of play before exiting the ice and not showing up for practising the next day. Szwarz received a penalty for his action. The defenceman signed a one-year deal with the Canucks during the previous summer. The upcoming clash against the Senators is set to take place at Rogers Arena this week Wednesday. Now fans are keeping fingers crossed that no more injuries will occur on their team’s side and that they will continue their winning run after Monday’s victory.