Most Bronco fans in the south-west have seen this Letter to the Editor which appeared in the Booster this week. For those who read from out of town and beyond here it is:
This letter is in reply to Gare Joyce's ESPN article.Dec. 30, 1986 is a day we all will remember, even the young who were not around then. They will hear the story because they will ask about the four leaf clover on their favorite players jersey.
People went to the game on Dec. 30, 2006 just like any game through the season as did my mother-in-law, Fanner, my daughter and myself. We walked in and went directly to our seats to see, a son, a husband and daddy coach the Tigers who were in town. Yes we went to see him, but also to honor Uncle Scotty and the three other young men who lost their lives in a tragic accident 20 years ago.
We bowed our heads and thought of Scott with fond memories and prayed for the other families. Then lifted our heads and looked across the ice to see Darren pumping up his boys to play hard. The rest of the night our focus was on the game being played here and now and yes deep down wishing Scotty was here too, and he is, each and everyday in our hearts.
Do we think about the bus crash? Sure. But mostly we think of happier times. The real tribute that night was the game still being played on that very ice surface where Scott, Trent, Chris and Brent loved to be.
What a team and franchise the Broncos are for still being there through a series of tragic events. A moment of silence after 20 years is quiet elegance. Those close family and friends remember the four men everyday of their lives. For others, fond memories of their favorite player is enough. The four leaf clover is for past, present and future players to pay tribute to and take pride in the Bronco crest and to always remember what happened.
Those who played on the Memorial Cup team have the four leaf clover on their ring as well - there is no greater tribute.
People deal with grief in different ways. Just because they don't want talk about it doesn't mean they don't remember. It must have been an awful scene for the other young Bronco players to have seen. Who are we to tell them how to deal with it. If they want to talk about it, let them. If not, let them be.
The James tragedy is a sad twist to the Broncos history. He has been dealt with - enough surely not but we need to move on. The CHL now takes measures to prevent this from happening again. Did anyone else know? Not sure, but the damage had already been done long before. He's gone, never to return again. Hopefully Sheldon and the other individual have gotten the help they need. We pray for them too and wish them only happier times.
As for the decision of the players to continue the season after the bus crash, I'd expect nothing less than a "Yes, I want to play on!" What courage, discipline, integrity, grit and honor this took. A true definition of any Bronco player any hockey player. Trent, Brent, Chris and Scotty would never had wanted them to quit. Keep playing! Keep fighting! Play harder for us!
Winning the Memorial Cup two years later shows the inner strength the team had to persevere and move on. Win one for the boys and no better way than bringing home the Memorial Cup.
There will always be "what if's" but there is a bigger picture here - Triumph through sorrow!
The bus crash and Memorial Cup win can be separated from Graham James because when I think of Scott I don't think of James. I think about what kind of Dad and uncle he'd be, what his kids would be like and how my daughter would have loved her uncle Scotty. When I think of the Memorial Cup win I think what a thrill it must have been for Darren to assist on the winning goal.
The Broncos are heroes in Swift. Junior players are in every city that has a team. Kids can be cruel with their taunting and jeering. Hockey players are stronger men inside because they walk away. They are here to play hockey.
They aren't the only ones. I've seen it and heard it as it's happened to me. It happens everywhere all the time.
Swift is a great place to live and play hockey in. The Broncos do a lot for the community especially in the schools, I've seen it first hand. The kids love them and can't get enough of them. The players like being there too, you see it in their smiles.
Does anyone think about Swift and not the Broncos? Not many, the two go hand in hand.
I married a hockey player and some still tease about what hockey players are like. I simply tell them I love him for who he is not what he does and he loves his job.
Hockey life is tough, I've found out, but true friends and fans are always there. The others don't matter. Gare Joyce, that would be you. You don't matter to those who know the true and real story.
We support our players, now, then and always.
Playing any sport is a privilege, and those who have played in Swift see it as that and much more - a close knit community and a great place to live and play hockey in. Hockey is a way of life in Swift - Love It Loud!