Recently I was contacted by the nephew of (in my opinion) the greatest Captain to ever wear the "C" Kurt Lackten. This young man asked me if there was a memorial thread in memory of the four Broncos. For some reason there isn't, but I told him that there should be and will be. With the permission of Scout, I have reprinted his story about the accident. Please feel free to tell what you remember about the accident or give thoughts about the players, prayers, sympathies, to the families of the four Broncos, all players and staff involved. What ever you feel is appropriate, let's never let these four young men be forgotten. Always remebered, Chris Mantyka, Brent Ruff, Trent Kresse, and Scott Kruger.

Scout's Story
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.

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.

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.