It has been 36 years since the tragic bus crash that took the lives of four young Broncos.
The devastating bus crash will never be forgotten, something that the Swift Current Broncos have helped to ensure, with their annual four Broncos memorial game.
Broadcast and Community Relations Manager for the Broncos, Craig Beauchemin, said that each year, it is a very important game in their schedule.
“Everyone who lives here and likes hockey knows what happened and knows what an awful tragedy it was, and to have that affect such a small community that's so tight-knit like this, it just makes it that much more meaningful,” he stated. “When people are able to come out and show their respects for a game like this and an atmosphere like that, I think it does add a lot of weight to this particular game every single year it's on the schedule.
“It is a very special game. It's a pretty special event to be able to commemorate and something that we're always very happy to do every year.”
The memorial game took place on Friday night when the Broncos beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 4-3.
Before the first face-off, a video tribute was displayed on the jumbotron, highlighting the 1986-87 team before the fatal crash, and the heartbreak that followed shortly after.
“It kind of just does an overview of the accident and sort of the aftermath and the impact that it had on the organization and the city as well,” Beauchemin explained. “So, it's a pretty moving piece and it's tough not to feel a little choked up once the video comes to an end.”
The final frame of the video features the four-leaf clover with the numbers 8,9,11, and 22, which dons every Swift Current Bronco jersey as well as all the Swift Current minor hockey jerseys.
The numbers are the only four retired numbers for the Broncos and represent the four players that lost their lives on December 30, 1986; Trent Kresse (#8), Scott Kruger (#9), Brent Ruff (#11) and Chris Mantyka (#22).
You can watch the video tribute here.