Sunday marks one month since the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy.
Sixteen people lost their lives as a result of the crash and 13 others were hurt, some left with a long road to recovery.
Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki was one of those hurt. He was left paralyzed from the chest down.
Now, one hockey father is hoping to help Straschnitzki and his family.
Phil Dell, father of Aaron Dell, the backup goalie for the San Jose Sharks, had near accidents on buses when his kids were in minor hockey.
“The winter weather in the prairie provinces can be absolutely crazy. One year we had to travel as far as Cranbrook, BC so we were taking some mountain passes. When we went through Cranbrook we got there and one of the drivers had a heart attack while we were there,” Dell said.
He recalled another incident where one driver fell asleep at the wheel and the bus ended up in the ditch.
“You sometimes wonder if you shouldn’t just cancel those trips but you know, hockey is hockey. I’d sit at the front of the bus, and they say the front of the bus is probably one of the worst places to be if you do have an accident,” Dell said.
After hearing about the Broncos crash, Dell wanted to help in any way he could.
Dell owns Drywall Wizards Ltd. in Alberta and is going to help refurbish the home of Straschnitzki so Ryan can live his new life in a more accessible way.
“I didn’t have money to donate, so I have a couple of partners who it also hit home with. (When) I saw the news, it was just devastating. When I heard about one of the Airdrie boys that was involved, I started really following the story,” he said.
When Dell saw an interview with Straschnitzki’s parents, he thought about what they were going to have to do in order to help their son.
“Their whole life is upside down, do you have to move into the hospital? You want to bring them home and their home probably isn’t going to be fit for such a change,” Dell said.
Dell knew there were going to be some changes the family needed to make but he wasn’t sure how the family was going to do it, so he reached out.
“The only thing I know how to do really well, for the last 24 years, has been dry walling residential homes. And I know everyone in the trade so I starting asking if they needed help with all the other trades as well,” he said.
Specs are being drawn up to help convert the home to something that will be more accessible for Straschnitzki.
Dell said half the house will essentially be torn out, right down to the framing, so crews can widen some hallways, put in some elevators and make the bathrooms more accessible.
“The list goes on and on about what has to be done to the house. They need to jump through some hoops with some zoning laws. It’s such a big project,” Dell explained.
There are already some architects and builders on board and they’ll be able to bring in the trades, one by one, as they need them.