NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Nineteen-year-old defenseman Ryan Straschnitzki probably wished he was coming to Philadelphia to play the Flyers as a member of his favorite team, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Instead he arrived at Shriners hospital in North Philly in an ambulance, flat on his back.
His father, Tom, who accompanied Ryan to Philly, says the nightmare began on April 6.
"A buddy of mine texted me and said, 'Tom, did you hear about the accident? Bus crash.' I said, 'nope, didn't hear anything,' and then social media came and we kind of knew it was a real serious."
A bus carrying a Straschnitzki's Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a tractor-trailer in rural Saskatchewan.
16 people were killed, including ten of Ryan’s teammates, his coach and general manager.
Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down, and suffered broken bones and a punctured lung.
"I just keep my teammates in my heart,” Ryan told reporters at a brief session Thursday afternoon. “And every day set new goals and challenges and remind myself that I do it for them."
Straschnitzki is here at Shriner's hospital because of their expertise in treating spinal cord injuries and because Shriners picks up all costs not covered by his insurance.
He'll do 4 to 6 weeks of acute rehab.
"We are here to help him become as independent and functional as possible,” says Kim Curran, a registered nurse and Ryan’s care manager. “And to gain as much recovery as he can."
The crash that killed 16, left 13 injured.
The Broncos team is still trying to regroup in an effort to take the ice again this winter.
As for Straschnitzki's future, Fox 29’s Bruce Gordon asked him about those NHL dreams.
"I think every kid playing juniors want to make it to the next level,” said Sraschnitzky, “and it just so happens that maybe this wasn't the route for me and so I'm going to switch things up and any way that I can get involved in the game, that'd be amazing."