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  1. #1
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    Default December 30,1986 #8 #9#11#22

    With the 20 year anniversary coming up of the tragic bus crash that took four of our beloved own ( #8 Trent Kresse #9 Scott Kruger #11 Brent Ruff #22 Chris Mantyka) I thought i would, as a person who was a witness to this could share so they are never forgotten. Many posters will remember very little of this event as they were either to young or were a twinkle in their mothers eye. It was a very sad day and a shock, not only to the citizens of Swift Current but to the hockey world.
    How was i involved? I was a billet to the teams assistant captain Ian Herbers and was one of only a select few who were given access to the hospital emergency room. Also alot of the players when they were checked and released from emergency came to our home to be together and to help heal each others wounds.
    I will not rush it as it is a very important date for our city. I will also give the details the best i can. I will do it in parts as time permits but i will sticky the thread. It seems like it happened yesterday and most events are still fresh in my mind.
    I will ask as you read this that you keep in mind why every Bronco wears the four leaf clover with the #'s 8-9-11-22.

    Scout
    Last edited by Scout; 12-27-2006 at 07:23 AM.
    # 8-9-11-22 ALWAYS REMEMBERED

  2. #2
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    Default Part 1

    It's mid afternoon on December 30th,1986. I'm at work and the Bronco's play in Regina that night against the Pats. As i'm at work i get called to the phone. As i answer the call it's Ian on the other end. "Hey i'm ok " was all he said. I didn't know what he was talking about and i replied "good" not clicking on me that he would be on the bus for Regina. After my dumb reply Ian says " You haven't heard ". "Heard what" i said. His reply was he was at the hospital and the bus crashed on the overpass. I asked if everyone was alright and he said no. He was somber and very quiet on the phone. I remember asking if he wanted me to come to the hospital and he said yes.

    As i drove to the hospital i still didn't think it was much and thought maybe Ian was just shook up and that everyone was alright. As i stepped into emergency i was stopped at the door. Ian and another player saw me at the door and yelled i was with the team. As i entered i saw coach James to my right standing in the corner weeping. Ian came to greet me with a very somber look in his face. I asked if everyone was alright and he said no that four players were gone. He choked back tears. We went to the seating room in emergency and it was full of players. Some had blood on their shirts and others were bruised and bloody walking and limping around. I asked Ian who the players were but he never answered. I looked to see who was missing and saw a girl with who i think was her mother in emergency. I was told it was Trents fiance. It entered my mind he may have been one of the fatalities but he couldn't be, he was one of our best players.

    As we sat in emergency i remember looking around. Emotions were running high and you could see the shock in the players faces. One of the players stood up and was limping very bad and just kept walking back and forth. There was an earie quiet in the room. As i looked at the players they looked like they had grown up real fast and were all staring into space. I again asked Ian who was gone. He told me in a whisper and i went into shock. It was Trent one of the few stars we had on our team. Scott Kruger, a local boy with the stature of Theo Fluery and the same speed. He was a local boy who we traded for with P.A. 16year-old Brent Ruff, a future star and younger brother of Buffalo Sabre G.M. Lindy Ruff and the team policeman Chris Mantyka. Chris worked at Fas Gas part-time and always greeted you with a smile.

    After Ian was checked over he came out and said the players need a place to go and asked if we minded if some of them came over to our house. I replied not a problem and left. As i drove home alot was running thru my mind. Will the team cancell the year. Can they survive this and how will it affect their lives.

    Scout
    # 8-9-11-22 ALWAYS REMEMBERED

  3. #3
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    Default Part 2

    I raced home hoping to arrive before any of the players. As i entered the house the phone started to ring. I had made it before any of the players. I grabbed the phone and on the other end was Warren Babe and an other player who were both former Bronco's and were traded to Kamloops earlier in the year. Warren was anxious to know what was going on. I asked how he found out so fast and he said they were watching TSN and it flashed on the bottom that the bus crashed with fatalitites. I felt obligated to tell them the four players names as they were friends and team mates. After a short and somber talk i hung up. The phone rang again. Word had spread across the country fast and now family and friends were calling billets to see if their loved ones were ok. The billets were forwarding our number to them.

    As fast as i would hang up the phone would ring again. The players started to arrive, each with a case of beer under their arms. It was against team rules to drink, but who cared at this time. They went to the basement one by one. With each phone call i had to yell down to see if so and so was down there and if they were there was a call for him. There was parents,cousins,sisters, brothers,uncles, grandpa's calling from all across Canada looking for there kids. I was asked to screen the calls as reporters were starting to call to talk to the players. I tried my best but found it very confusing and difficult. Some calls the voices were quiet and hoping i would say " yes he is here, i will get him" and you could here a sigh of relief. Others were family that sounded firm so it was very difficult to tell who was family and who wasen't. If asked some lied and were reporters. One such call came from a reporter from Philidelphia. He asked for one of the players by name. I put the call thru and a few minutes later i heard yelling and cussing from this player. This kind and gentle reporter decided to ask stupid questions like " how does it feel to loose four team mates ".

    The calls continued till 2 a.m. Not 30 seconds went by without the phone ringing. We could hear the players talking down stairs. Some you could hear crying out loud. Not sure what time they went to bed but they had a long night of remembering.

    A team meeting is called to decide the rest of the year. The league has cancelled all Bronco games until furthur notice. The team holds the meeting and decide the four players would have wanted them to continue the season. They dedicate the rest of the season to all four. The league steps in and each team is asked to offer one player off their team for the Bronco's to choose from so they have a complete line up to finish the season.

    The Broncos were loaded with up and coming stars in the W.H.L. Future N.H.L. super star Joe Sakic, Sheldon Kennedy, Danny Lambert, Tim Tisdale and Ryan McGill. All would dedicate the rest of the year.

    Scout
    Last edited by Scout; 12-27-2006 at 10:17 AM.
    # 8-9-11-22 ALWAYS REMEMBERED

  4. #4
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    Default Part 3 The Memorial

    The Bronco's call for a memorial to be held at the Civic Center. The day of the memorial i head to the rink. I thought i was early but when i got there the North and South parking lots are full. I remember bus after bus lined up. I entered the arena. The ice is covered with plywood with a big stage set up on the west end of the ice. There are chairs set up on the whole ice service. I look at the stage. There are flowers, a microphone, the jerseys of the four fallen Broncos and four large pictures, one of each of the fallen Bronco's. I go back out to the lobby to wait for the start of the service. The Arena is already 90% full. The lobby was clearing out as the service got closer. As i stood there in walked Marc Habscheid. Marc was playing for The Canadian National Team at the time but flew in for the service. We chatted for awhile and i filled him in on what happened. We entered the arena together and and sat side by side.

    The service was about to start. There were very few sitting in the seats on the ice surface but the arena was full. There were camera's everywhere. It was all the major sports crews and news crews. Outside the arena were truck after truck with dishes set up on top. As we waited we were asked to stand. I soon found out why the seats on the ice were empty. Out comes each team in the Central and now East division. They are wearing their team jerseys. Medicine Hat, Regina, Moose Jaw, P.A. Saskatoon,etc. All the teams were there in their jerseys to pay tribute. All rivalry was set aside. You could see on their faces that they were a very big part of this incident. Each team sat together in their jerseys. What a tribute and a show of respect by each team.

    As the memorial started up on stage were league and team officials. Each gave a somber tribute. Team Captain Kurt Lackten gave a speech on behalf of the players. Several times he broke down and could hardly finish his speach. Alot of players from the other teams had their heads down. Some openly weeping. It was one of the most cherished memories i will ever have.

    Scout
    Last edited by Scout; 12-25-2006 at 08:12 AM.
    # 8-9-11-22 ALWAYS REMEMBERED

  5. #5
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    Default Part 4 The new season

    The Bronco's decide on when to start their dedicated season. Their first game is against The Moose Jaw Warriors in Moose Jaw. Alot of Bronco fans decide to make the 90 minute trip to show their support. We arrive in Moose Jaw to an almost full house. Alot of Bronco colors in the stands. During the warm up you would hear the odd " way to go Bronco's " from a fan. The teams line -up for the anthem. They have a moment of silence. At the end of the moment of silence, one of the Warrior players starts to tap his stick on the ice. The rest of the Warriors follow suit, tapping their sticks on the boards and ice. The fans start to rise to their feet giving the players a standing ovation. The Bronco players stood on the blue line, some wiping their eyes and others just looking down. The place was going wild. Fans from Moose Jaw giving the Bronco's one of the loudest cheers i have ever heard. This standing ovation must have been for 2 minutes. Alot of us Bronco fans were tearing up as we watched out beloved team look ah struck. As the game was played the fans from Moose Jaw seemed to be cheering for both teams. What an experiance to see this.

    As the Bronco's continued on, each arena i was told gave a standing ovation to these players. A season to remember. We squeezed into the play-offs that year but lost out in the first round. Many of these players still hold that season close to them. Two years later this team marched thru the play-offs going 12-0 and then won The Memorial Cup. Former Bronco Bob Wilkie is bringing up a team to the Mac's tourny this year and his team has dedicated the games to the four fallen Bronco's. They will wear the four leaf clover patch with the four numbers on their uniform. Although they are from Hershey, Pennsylvania they are showing respect for their coach. Medallion Real-Estate in Calgary is putting up $35,000.00 for the Hersey team to come for the tourny. Bob Wilkie was a 17 year-old D-man with the Bronco's when the bus crashed. During an interview Bob mentioned although the healing and memories of that day are a little easier, he still has never forgotten that day or his fallen team-mates.

    A plaque hangs in the Civic Center lobby with a picture of the four players and their retired jerseys as a reminder. Some of us were talking at the last game and questioned why a memorial was never put up at the crash site as a reminder to teams as they pass the spot. Hopefully sometime in the future one will be put up.

    Scout
    # 8-9-11-22 ALWAYS REMEMBERED

  6. #6
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    Default Four Leaf Clover

    The idea and design of the four leaf clover was made by the then trainer as a memorial for every future Bronco as a reminder of the four who gave their lives. We must remember these kids travel thousands of miles every year to not only try to reach their dreams of making the N.H.L. but to entertain us the fans.

    Scout
    # 8-9-11-22 ALWAYS REMEMBERED

  7. #7

    Iconcup

    I think it would be nice if the broncos did something to remember these kids on the night of the 30th when we play the tigers. I think it would be nice if they had a moment of silence. Lets go bronco staff lets put something together to remember these great broncos.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bronco rep
    I think it would be nice if the broncos did something to remember these kids on the night of the 30th when we play the tigers. I think it would be nice if they had a moment of silence. Lets go bronco staff lets put something together to remember these great broncos.
    I think it would really say a lot if people came out, filled up the Civic Centre, and showed support for the Broncos at this time. Yeah, we should have a moment of silence or something. That day must have been horrible. Mainly though, we should focus on having a sell-out crowd for that tragic anniversary. EVERYONE! Come on out, and show support for our hockey club!!
    GO BRONCOS GO!!!

  9. #9

    Default

    Myself I think it would be a good idea if they put up a four leaf clover sign where the crash happened. We could put the rep in charge of that. This guy bleeds green and blue. He probably would make the sign himself,!!!LOL
    Merry Christmas!!!!!!! punk rock

  10. #10
    b1kem1ke Guest

    Default

    I've heard of the incident and the 4 leaf clover, but that's all I knew until I read this. Very tragic, but thanks for filling those in who weren't in the time or place to really understand. The Silvertips did have a moment of silence on the 30th.

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