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.