It's hard to believe it's been eighteen years since the Swift Current Broncos met the Moose Jaw Warriors in the playoffs.

The two teams start every WHL year against one another in the annual pre-season rookie game and sit only ninety minutes apart on the Trans-Canada Highway. It seems only natural they would have a long and storied playoff tradition.

The two proud and community owned franchises have only met in the playoffs three times in their history. Swift Current toppled Moose Jaw 4-0 on the way to their Memorial Cup triumph in 1989, the Warriors returned the favour with a 3-0 sweep in 1991 and then Moose Jaw outlasted the Broncos 4-2 in 1999.

The most recent series was also the most competitive as it came down a 3-2 thriller of a game six in front of a listed crowd of over 3000 fans in the not yet renovated Swift Current Civic Centre.

“That playoff series against Moose Jaw was a battle,” said former Broncos forward Jeremy Rondeau. “There was so much energy in the rink. You were so excited to get there knowing the fans were going to be there early and they were jacked up for playoffs. It was so cool to see the fans come out and just be as jacked up as we were. We fed off the fans.”

For a rivalry that hasn't been regularly tested in the playoffs it certainly wasn't lacking for passion.

“Oh we hated Moose Jaw,” Rondeau said. “It was easy to hate Moose Jaw. They had great players and you played them so much you hated them just because.”

The Broncos dropped the first two games of the series on the road in the old “Crushed Can” where the Warriors crowd was notoriously close to the action.

“It was loud,” Rondeau said. “It was never a great rink to play in. They were on you. Their fans were relentless and ruthless. It seemed like you were so close to it that they were yelling right in your ear as you were skating down the ice. They've got a great fanbase there. We've got to match it. Let's put the Moose Jaw fans to shame.”

Rondeau got in on the action in the third game of the series scoring a goal that forced overtime before Quinn Sherdahl won it for Swift Current.

“Goals are tough to come by in the playoffs,” Rondeau said. “It's a new game. It's a battle to the bitter end. There's bodies flying everywhere, it's tougher getting to the net and it's just a hardcore battle out there. Anytime you can add to the team's success it's not only huge for yourself but it's huge for the team.”

The Broncos and Warriors were pretty evenly matched in the series. Moose Jaw finished only six points ahead of Swift Current in the standings in 1998-99. In similar fashion they finished five points up on the Broncos this season.

The 1999 series ended up 3-1 in Moose Jaw's favour before the Broncos stole game five in Moose Jaw to force another trip back home.

Swift Current had current NHL bench boss Todd McLellan at the helm at the time and he helped inspire them during what was quite a battle.

“Todd was a great coach,” Rondeau noted. “He was just as engaged and excited as we were. He played a huge role it getting us motivated for the playoffs... trying to get the best out of each guy. He knew how to get in everybody's head and try to get the best out of them going into playoffs. The boys need (coach Manny Viveiros) now to help them get energized for the playoffs and get that last little bit of energy they can pull out.”

As an active alumnus who now works at MNP and co-chairs the annual Broncos golf tournament every summer, Rondeau keeps a close eye on the current group. He's hopeful they can come up with a better result than his team did against the Warriors almost two decades ago.

“I'm thinking our boys are going to have a good chance,” Rondeau says. “It's going to be a tough series for sure, but if we get our fans out and provide the boys some support they will feed off that energy and hopefully score a victory.”

When that 1999 series did shift back to Swift Current it ended in ultimate heartbreak. Brent Hobday scored the series winner with only 23 seconds left to play in the third period as Moose Jaw won game six by a 3-2 score and ended the Broncos' season.

The loss also put an end to Rondeau's junior career as he graduated from the WHL.

Looking back on the emotion of that moment he had some advice for the 2017 Broncos.

“Knowing my career and ending it in '99 after six games,” Rondeau said. “You can't come back to that. It's done and it's over. You've got to find a way to leave everything you can possibly leave on the ice. You can't take it with you.”

The fourth ever WHL playoff series between the Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors starts Friday night at Mosaic Place. You can hear the action on The Eagle 94.1 FM with Robertson Family Group Broncos Hockey at 6:30pm.

The series shifts to Swift Current for games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday.

More Local Sports

Steenbergen selected by Coyotes in Round 5

A second Swift Current Broncos player was taken by the Arizona Coyotes with the 128th overall pick (fifth round) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft Saturday in Chicago. Forward Tyler Steenbergen was passed…

Shaunavon's Kole Lind drafted by Vancouver

Shaunavon's Kole Lind has been selected by the Vancouver Canucks with the 33rd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago. Lind enjoyed a breakout season with the Kelowna Rockets in 2016-17,…

First Bronco Selected in 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Swift Current Broncos forward Aleksi Heponiemi was the first from his major-junior team off the board at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago when the Florida Panthers selected him at 40th overall.…

57's back in win column with blow-out of Millionaires

After watching leads disappear twice in Yorkton on Wednesday, the Swift Current 57's were not about to have that happen again Friday night at Mitchell Field. In what started out as a back-and-forth…

Schafer to take part in third Olympic Games

For the third time in her curling career, Kelly Schafer will be taking part in the Winter Olympic Games. The Swift Current resident will be off to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic games, serving as the…

Broncos close in on NHL dream

Any player who has played high level hockey has likely at some point imagined hearing their name called at the NHL Draft.That could become a reality for members of the Swift Current Broncos this…

NHL draft day is here; Lind, Heponiemi, Minulin, Steenbergen and Gawdin all on the radar

Looking to take the next step in their professional careers, players born between January 1, 1997, and September 15, 1999 will be hoping to hear their names called Friday night at the 2017 NHL Entry…

Swift Current Minor Baseball teams continue league schedules

Another busy weekend for Swift Current Minor Baseball is on the horizon. Playing in Swift Current over the weekend will be the Midget 'AAA' 57's, Bantam 'AA' 57's and the Pee Wee 'AA' 57's. The…

57's-Beavers RAINED OUT

Thursday night's WMBL contest between the Swift Current 57's and Weyburn Beavers has been postponed due to the weather. The rain-out becomes the second game that Swift Current will now need to…

Eakin selected by Vegas in expansion draft

A former Swift Current Bronco is now a member of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights. Cody Eakin was selected by the Golden Knights in Wednesday's expansion draft. It was the second time in his career…

Stotts, Barlage and Alexander all receive Hockey Canada Camp invites

A pair of Swift Current Broncos, as well as a Broncos prospect received invites from Hockey Canada to the Men's Camps at Summer Showcase. Both Logan Barlage and Jacson Alexander are off to Calgary…

4th inning proves costly for Midget 'AAA' 57's

An elusive third out in the top of the 4th inning proved costly Wednesday night for the Swift Current Midget 'AAA' 57's. Hosting the Regina White Sox at Mitchell Field, Swift Current surrendered five…

57's fall twice to Cardinals

It certainly was not the kind of day the Swift Current 57's were hoping for on Wednesday. Off to Yorkton for a double-header with the Cardinals, Swift Current returned home empty handed losing both…

Bantam 'AA' 57's host Moose Jaw in mid-week clash

The Bantam 'AA' 57's are back on the diamond Wednesday night playing their first league game since June 11. The 57's will play host to Moose Jaw on Wednesday as Swift Current looks to chase down…

Rampage Lacrosse wrap-up regular seasons

Swift Current Rampage teams spent their weekends wrapping up their regular season schedules. In Novice action, the Rampage won both of their games. They started with a win over the Lethbridge Cudas…

MacDonald's memorable 2017 debut sends Swift Current to 5th straight win

Kyle MacDonald arrived in Swift Current around 2:00pm Monday afternoon and by roughly 8:30pm that night he had already hit two home-runs for the Swift Current 57's. "I wasn't sure I was going to play…

Swift Current athletes rack-up 39 medals at 2017 Special Olympics Saskatchewan Summer Games

Competing at the 2017 Special Olympics Saskatchewan Summer Games in Moose Jaw over the weekend, the Swift Current athletes showcased their talents bringing home 39 medals. The Swift Current athletes…

Midget 'AAA' 57's try for 3rd straight win

Winners of three of their last four games, the Swift Current Midget 'AAA' 57's will look to keep the momentum rolling Wednesday night at Mitchell Field. The 57's will welcome the Regina White Sox in…

Sonic sweep double-header in Weyburn

It was a two-win weekend for the Swift Current U14 Sonic girls softball team. Continuing to prepare for the Saskatchewan Softball U14 provincial C championships in mid-July, the Sonic travelled to…

Bantam 'AAA' 57's rally for gold at home tournament

Despite having to play their entire tournament schedule on Saturday and Sunday, the Bantam 'AAA' 57's still were able to grind out a gold medal performance at home. Hosting their annual home… is Westman's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

This Place Matters Competition - Spirit of the Lyric!

15 June 2017 12:00 am - 17 July 2017 11:45 pm

The Lyric Theatre, Swift Current

Craving Change

26 June 2017 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

EI Wood Building 4TH Floor, Swift Current

Senior Appreciation Tea

26 June 2017 2:00 pm

Swift Current Branch Library, Swift Current

League of Possibilities

26 June 2017 7:00 pm

Swift Current Branch Library, Swift Current

Groovin' in the Park - Yoga Connexion

27 June 2017 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Outdoor Fitness Park at Elmwood Park, Swift Current

Young Adults Hope for a Better Tomorrow AFG

27 June 2017 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

The Center (Garden Room), Swift Current

Bridge & Whist

27 June 2017 1:00 pm

Swift Current Branch Library, Swift Current