It was 25 years ago today when the Swift Current Broncos boarded their bus and headed to Regina for a scheduled game against the Pats. It was to be the Broncos’ first game following the 1986-87 Christmas break. This also was their first season back in Swift Current, having moved from Lethbridge over the summer.
The Broncos’ bus, of course, never made it to Regina on that stormy evening in 1986. It crashed just east of Swift Current and four players –
Scott Kruger, Trent Kresse, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff –
Tonight, the Broncos are again scheduled to play in Regina and the Pats will honour the memories of Kruger, Kresse, Mantyka and Ruff in a small pregame ceremony.
Tim Tisdale, who was in his first season with the Broncos in 1986-87 and who lives and works in Swift Current, will be on hand to take part in a ceremonial faceoff. Tisdale played with the Broncos through the 1989 Memorial Cup, in which he scored the OT goal in a 4-3 championship-game victory over the host Saskatoon Blades. He later went on to a coaching career that included a two-season stint with the Pats.
The pregame ceremony, which is to begin at 7 p.m., also will include Darren McKechnie, who was a 19-year-old forward with the Pats in 1987-88.
Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post flashes back 25 years right here.
More than two years ago, two people –
Leesa Culp and Bob Wilkie –
approached me about a project on which they were working.
They had prepared a short manuscript about the crash of the Swift Current Broncos’ bus that they were wanting to turn into a book.
At the time of the accident, Culp was in a big rig that had slowed down to allow the Broncos’ bus to pull onto the Trans-Canada Highway at Swift Current. Wilkie was a defenceman in his first season with the Broncos, who had acquired him from the Calgary Wranglers earlier in the season.
Culp and Wilkie both felt there was a story to be told.
More than two years later, the manuscript has been worked and reworked, interviews have been conducted, and out of it all has come a book.
Sudden Death: The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos is to be published by Dundurn Press in September.
This is the story of the Broncos, primarily from Dec. 30, 1986, through the end of the 1989 Memorial Cup.
There is more right here from Robert Koopmans of the Kamloops Daily News.
You already are able to pre-order this book from Amazon and from McNally Robinson.