Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I love it when Swift Current comes to town

The Swift Current Broncos are coming to town on Friday.   We only see them in Portland once every two years, which is a shame.  There's lots of history with this team.

Both times that Swift Current won the WHL, they beat the Winterhawks in the final.   The entire city of  Swift Current would fit in the Rose Garden (pop. 14,946) - its the smallest market in the entire CHL.  Their rink only seats 3,239.

The Broncos are community owned, rather than having a single owner like Mike Gallagher or Paul Allen.  In fact, the Broncos would love for you to purchase a share of the team.

The Pipeline Show has interviewed several current Broncos lately, and they have some interesting players right now.

My favorite thing about the SC Broncos is the shoulder patch honoring the 4 retired numbers for that franchise:

  • Trent Kresse
  • Scott Krueger
  • 11 Brent Ruff
  • 22 Chris Mantyka

These are the 4 players who lost their lives in a bus crash on 12/30/86.  With the millions of miles that teams put on every year, we are fortunate that this isn't more common.  I found an in depth ESPN piece about it, as well as the crimes committed by their coach at the time: Graham James.

Gregg Drinnan is one of the authors behind a book about this era of Broncos:  Sudden Death The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos.  The voice of the Broncos, Shawn Mullin, had an interesting interview with Drinnan about the book.

Joe Sakic was on that bus.  He walked away unharmed, but never wanted to speak about the incident.  he married a girl from Swift Current, and they return during the summers.

Several other players on that fatal bus ride contributed to the Broncos 1989 Memorial Cup.  

I remember when Sheldon Kennedy made his story known about the abuse suffered under James.  It shocked the conscience.  I think we saw Theo Fleury's demons on and off the ice during his career.   One has to wonder if there were more players involved.

The Broncos have a history that we should know about:  stories of resilience & overcoming dire circumstances as well as horror stories that we must do what we can to keep them isolated incidents.   Its a shame that we, as 'Hawks fans, don't get to interact with the Broncos more than one night per season.  I'm looking forward to that night.

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