8, 9, 11, 22

25 years ago today the hockey world, Swift Current and more importantly the friends and family of four talented young men suffered through a terrible tragedy. Others have spoken more eloquently than I could about the loss of Brent Ruff, Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, and Chris Mantyka. What can any new voice add to such an old pain?

I will say that the four-leaf clover worn by not only the Broncos but by every Swift Current minor hockey team is one of the most powerful and important symbols in all of sports.

It reminds me that first… before anything else… these warriors that play the game we love are someone’s son. They are young men with their whole lives in front of them. We sometimes have to remember that those lives are more important than any game, season or championship.

Tonight the Broncos and Pats honour the “Four Broncos” before the game in Regina. The 2011 version of this proud franchise will ride that same stretch of road that the 1986 team was meant to 25 years ago today. I don’t think any of us will be able to avoid pondering the symbolism involved and how lucky we all are to have the opportunities we have.

To mark this sad anniversary I have received permission from Jon Keen to post the radio documentary he produced five years ago for the 20th anniversary of the crash. It is a terrific piece of work and tells the story better than I ever could.

Part 1 of the radio documentary by Jon Keen (Download)

Part 2 of the radio documentary by Jon Keen (Download)

Thank you to Jon for the terrific work and to all of those who participated in the interviews he did while producing it.

Here are some other links on the subject:

Finally here is some video on Chris Mantyka posted online by Ryan Switzer:

The show will go on tonight, but no one will ever forget those four young men. May they rest in peace.



About shawnmullin

Play by Play Broadcaster for the WHL's Swift Current Broncos on 94.1 FM The Eagle.
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7 Responses to 8, 9, 11, 22

  1. RR345 says:

    Can someone please explain to me why the Broncos did not insist on a home game rather than being on the road, having a rival team honoring these players and the team? I find it shameful that the team would allow the Pats to host something that should be done in the home rink. The team has been under criticism for many years for not doing enough. Why would they have another city mourn the tragedy. There is no way that the WHL would not have allowed a home game. Aside from Regina’s gesture, this is very disappointing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great post…Better yet there might have been a great crowd also…..Chalk another one up a job well done.

  3. Alan says:

    I suspect the game is in Regina tonight because the Broncos schedule on December 30, 1986 read “Swift Current at Regina”. While I can understand wanting to have the game at home too, it seems equally fitting to hold the tribute game in the place the Broncos were headed that terrible day.

  4. RR345 says:

    So we now re-enact parts of tragedies to honor victims. Give me a break. Why the hell should the people of Regina be allowed to embrace our pain and suffering, and why should families be forced to go to another rink to mourn again. Thank goodness for the Pats on this one, but I want my tears to fall in my home arena. I was pissed off at Gare Joyce when he did his thing last time. Today, I hope he gets ahold of this one and runs with it. What a disgrace!

  5. Annonymous says:

    When you say “these warriors that play the game are someone’s son”, I can’t help but think of all of the young girls/women who also play the game and travel around the country for the game they love. I know for myself, and many of my female hockey players getting to a game means traveling near, far, in good weather, and sometimes bad. Let us honor these players by striving to keep all hockey players safe. Rest in peace to these talented, and loved young men.

    • shawnmullin says:

      I certainly don’t mean to exclude female hockey. I was simply talking about WHL players in this case not all players. I have as much respect for female hockey players as any others.

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