Chasing Greatness: Episode 1 – Determination

Breaking news coming out of Saskatchewan,
Canada. A bus carrying a junior hockey league team has collided with a semi
trailer. There may be as many as 16 fatalities. The bus was carrying players
and team personnel from the Humboldt Broncos. I got a text from a buddy of mine and he goes there was an accident. A bus involved in the junior A-team. We don’t know what’s going on. And then he goes, Tom it’s pretty serious. We walked through the ICU, it was just carnage. Everyone’s face was swelled up and you
couldn’t tell who was who. We heard that Ryan was alive but we
didn’t know what kind of condition he was in. We didn’t have any clue. So we get in there
and then he looked at me and goes who won the sled hockey. Did Canada win? I went, pal we talked about that a couple of months before. I said Canada lost 2-1 and then
he kind of looked at Michelle then he looked at me and he goes
I think when I get out of here I want to try sled hockey and see if I can make
the Team Canada. I’m Ryan Straschnitzki, I’m 20-years-old and I’m from
Calgary Alberta, Canada. You know hockey is my whole life and I had dreams to play possibly Pro hockey at some point but yeah I knew right away I just wanted
to get back on the ice and you know get away from everything for a little bit. Nice, your flat. You know I’m lucky enough to have a mentor and people
all around in the sledge hockey community that are helping me out. Shortly after the accident after hearing that he wanted to play sledge hockey.
You know, we’ve had a lot of parallels within our story and being an elite
athlete and it was something I was able to reach out to his parents and things
just have taken off from there. I’ve never seen anybody get
into a sledge as fast as he has. The first time we had him out on a sledge, he was out in a crazy high back sledge. I mean obviously it was his first time in a sledge but to see what he’s doing now. I mean he’s learning advanced techniques. You know in stand up you
obviously use one stick and it’s easy to do a lot from there but having to use
two sticks and slide all the time and being coordinated, it’s a lot. But it’s
a learning process and Chris is trying to teach me the basics so it’s good. Ready to have some fun? What do you want to to work and start with? Do some starts and then get in turning. See how that is on this ice. Yep sounds good. Boys! What’s happening? Finally meeting here. Getting better or what? What’s up, man. My name is Kevin Rempel. I’m from Toronto Ontario, Canada. So I’ve played Para ice hockey
for now close to 11 years. Through the 2013 World Championships where we won a gold medal and bronze at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi. I’m making this
video for Ryan Straschnitzki. Sorry I don’t know if I can do this without crying. I wanted to say in memory of all your
teammates and your staff who have passed away. Hopefully… Some day I get a chance to meet you. I wanted
to make myself available if Ryan and his family were interested in chatting so I
recorded this video. I said, God willing I’ll put it out there if it gets shared and
then something happens, then that’s great and a lot of people shared the
video and it ended up reaching the family. Since then we’ve built a relationship
and stayed in touch. Tom, what’s going on? Hey, what’s going on boys. One of the elements of our
relationship that I would be most proud of is the input that myself and my
friend had on Ryan and the family here as they renovated their house.
So yeah when Chris and I were here, having both of us who lived with disability or like
within chairs really. There’s just so many different ways to like lay it out. They really like kept the space here looking homey. As far as accessibility
goes in homes like this is a dream this is just a dream come true. I have a
never met a kid like him before. He just has this unbelievable attitude towards
what he’s doing and towards what’s happened to him. It’s just this
constant ability for him to move forward and overcome and persevere. More than anything, I’m excited to see Ryan continue to live a
happy and healthy life. On the ice, his dream is as much
as it is my dream that I want to see him make Team Canada. I think that
with the continued work ethic and time invested in the sport, that
there’s a spot on the team there for him. Determination is pushing through the
hard times, not getting too frustrated with yourself. If I wasn’t
playing any sports now, I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing. Thanks
to Kevin and Chris for introducing me to the sport, pushing me through it and
mentoring me so yeah if it wasn’t for them I don’t know where I’d be right now. you

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