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Humboldt Bronco Ryan Straschnitzki shares message of positivity with students

Ryan Straschnitzki visits Don Campbell

Ryan Straschnitzki, a member of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team that was involved in the devastating bus crash in 2018, captivated students at Don Campbell Elementary as he told his story, while encouraging them to have a positive mindset no matter what challenges they come across in life.

“Life is about facing adversity. Things in life are out of your control, but it’s how you perceive them. When one door closes, another one opens,” he said. “Today was about mindset, and it’s important to share that message because a lot of kids sometimes don’t know how to handle certain situations. With my story and in sharing my experiences, it will hopefully help them in the future.”

Ryan has worked hard to overcome countless challenges in his life. He told students what separates good leaders from great leaders is that they always find their way around the closed door. Ryan did just that as he recently hit a major milestone in his recovery, which was taking his first steps since the bus crash more than three years ago.

“After the surgery in Thailand that allowed me to move my muscles below my injury, taking steps for the first time was pretty surreal,” he said. “I didn’t expect it to happen that fast. With spinal cord injuries the rehab time can be years and years, so taking my first steps that soon was pretty exciting. When you maintain a positive attitude and set goals for yourself, anything can be achieved.”

Ryan has worked hard in his recovery. Within four months of the bus crash, Ryan was back on the ice and he was doing rehab four to five days a week.

“It was not going to be an easy ride - nothing in life will be easy - guaranteed, but with a positive attitude, a positive mindset and with goals in mind, it will be achievable,” he said. “There is no such thing as failure. It’s about achieving or learning. When you learn, you better yourself and you grow.”

Currently, Ryan is in physiotherapy three days a week for about 90 minutes, and is on the ice as well as trains three to four times per week. Another passion he has found in his recovery is sledge hockey.

“When I was sitting in my hospital bed with a spinal cord injury, I thought, what is the next open door? My next goal was winning the gold medal for Canada in sledge hockey,” he said, adding he has really enjoyed the sport. “It’s opened more doors and helped me make a lot of connections, getting to travel the world, sponsorship opportunities - all sorts of things. Sledge hockey has been incredible and I hope to be able to help grow the game a little bit more.” 

Meanwhile, Ryan’s advice for when negative thoughts enter one’s mind is simple. “It’s little things like getting out of bed, not checking your phone, and doing something beneficial - not only physically like working out, but mentally as well - reading, writing, playing instruments, being outside - it helps every day. The biggest tool in life is learning as much as you can and being open minded - learning new things every day and putting in hard work, and understanding it’s for the greater good for yourself.”

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