Parents of paralyzed Humboldt hockey player say he "wanted to help" after crash

Parents of paralyzed Humboldt hockey player speak

HUMBOLDT, Canada -- At a vigil Sunday night, in the arena that brought so much joy over the years, there were tears and a struggle to understand.

When a truck slammed into the Humboldt Broncos' bus Friday, killing 15 team members and injuring more than a dozen others, it broke the collective hearts of a nation and hockey fans everywhere. NHL players showed their grief by wearing uniforms with the Humboldt team's name on them.

People look at photos of the victims during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident in Humboldt
People look at photos of the victims during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honor the victims of a fatal bus accident in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada April 8, 2018. POOL New / REUTERS

Ryan Straschnitzki, 18, survived the crash, but he is now paralyzed from the chest down. His parents, Tom and Michelle say even so, his thoughts are still with his friends.

"His main thought when he was lying on the road looking at everybody and he couldn't move. He said he wanted to help and he couldn't move," Michelle said.

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Tom and Michelle Straschnitzki CBS News

It is Pastor Sean Brandow's job to try to ease the pain of Humboldt's 6,000 residents. We asked him how the town will move past the tragedy.

"There has to be healing," Brandow said.

The Straschnitzkis say their son is a fighter, and is determined to remain optimistic.

"When they told us, Ryan just looked at us and goes, 'Dad, Olympic Sledge Hockey, I'm gonna get us the gold,'" Tom said. "I couldn't fall apart there. I had to be strong for him, but just -- that kid's amazing, and those other kids are amazing also."

Ryan is one of 14 who were hospitalized. It hasn't just been an outpouring of grief after the crash, a GoFundMe campaign for families of the victims has raised over $5.6 million.