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Avalanche Honors Humboldt Broncos

Ryan Straschnitzki and Jacob Wassermann dropped pucks in a ceremonial faceof

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Avalanche honored two survivors of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy prior to Saturday's game against the Dallas Stars.

Defenseman Ryan Straschnitzki and goaltender Jacob Wassermann were recognized in front of the capacity crowd at Pepsi Center, and each dropped a puck in a ceremonial faceoff with captains Gabriel Landeskog of the Avalanche and Jamie Benn of the Stars.

Video: DAL@COL: Humboldt Broncos honored with puck drop

Both players are paralyzed from the midsection down from the April 6 accident. The Broncos' team bus and a semi-truck collided at the Intersection of Highways 35 and 335 in Saskatchewan, Canada, killing 16 Humboldt players, coaches, trainers and staff and seriously injuring 13 others.

The team was on its way to Nipawin to play Game 5 of its semifinal series in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Playoffs.

Both Straschnitzki and Wassermann were invited by Dawg Nation to come to Denver and take part in a sports weekend. Dawg Nation is a Denver-based nonprofit that helps members of the hockey community in need and has raised more than $1.3 million since 2011.

The players went to the University of Denver men's hockey game on Friday night against Providence and will attend the Denver Broncos NFL game on Sunday versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite the accident, the Humboldt players' hockey aspirations are not over as they have both started to play sled hockey and hope to one day represent Team Canada at the Paralympic Winter Games.

Both athletes took part in a sled hockey scrimmage with the Warrior Avalanche, Colorado Sled Hockey and the U.S. Men's Paralympic Team during an extended first intermission at the DU game. It was the first time Straschnitzki and Wassermann had been on the ice together since April.

The Avalanche also has a connection to Humboldt as head coach Jared Bednar grew up in the city and played for the Broncos as a youth. Bednar also has close ties with Wassermann, as he is friends with the goalie's father.

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