Ryan Straschnitzki of the Humboldt Broncos has returned to Alberta.
Strasz, as he is known, was in Philadelphia for the last two months receiving treatment after he was paralyzed in an April bus crash, which left 16 dead and injured another 12.
He will do the rest of his rehab in Airdrie.
“It feels good. I was just dropping down on the plane looking at the view – it was nice. It brought back memories,” Straschnitzki said.
“I’m excited. It’s been a while since I’ve been here and seen my friends.”
Straschnitzki was accompanied by his parents, brothers and sister who spent the past week with him in Philadelphia. He hasn’t been in Airdrie with his family since earlier in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season in February.
His mother, Michelle Straschnitzki, said it’s wonderful for the family to be back home together.
“It feels awesome. It feels like its been so long coming and we’re just going to take it one day at a time still but we’re enjoying it,” she said.
“We do it in shifts right? We’re on to the next period and we’ll see what happens.”
Ryan said he wants to visit with family and friends, take a few days to rest and then attend the Calgary Stampede.
“I’m going to take my girlfriend to the Stampede and have some fun but then continue physio after that,” he said.
His father, Tom Straschnitzki, said the next stage of Ryan’s recovery will be focused on him learning to do things on his own.
The first thing on the list is something he concentrated on in Philadelphia – learning how to slide from his wheelchair into a vehicle.
“We’re going to have a real car to do it tomorrow,” he said with a chuckle.
“I mentioned to him no more wheelchair accessible. You’re on your own. We’re going to do this.”
Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report