I've spent the last couple days talking to community members who were involved with the team back then, were friends with the families and four players, etc. They are all telling me the same thing - they're irate with Joyce's article "Denial of Death".
Through all of this, I think Joyce is actually liking the attention this is bringing upon him. I read a solid quote on Rod Pedersen's blog today "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it." Not RP's words - they were from a posted news story.
This debate has done one thing, it's brought plenty of traffic to Keen's Korner. The last three days the blog hit have doubled, nearly tripled. Granted this isn't the best scenario but it shows me people really care what's going on. People want to make their voice heard. Some have told me they want to contact ESPN.com, I'm sure some have. I doubt it would to little good though. The editors there probably would be standing behind their reporter. They would more than likely get their backs up in a situation like this. If anyone even gets a response I would love to see it.
I talked with Broncos Head Coach and G.M. Dean Chynoweth today. He had A LOT to say. I will post a transcript of our chat Friday morning. He's upset and for good reason.
JK: Dean, you've seen the article, it's been out a few days now. What was your reaction when you saw it?
DC: I was extremely disappointed. I think it's been known we made Mr. Joyce extremely comfortable when he was here and opened up our dressing room to him with full access. He travelled with us, he was in some of our meetings. we helped set up who to talk to. I was under an impression in talking to him before he came out to do his interviews that the article was going to entail the anniversary of the bus crash but more importantly how Swift Current has progressed and moved forward in the last 20 years and that we're still surviving in one of the smallest markets in the CHL.
JK: Swift Current as a community has really come under attack here. What's your thoughts on that?
DC: Well, they've dealt with a lot worse things than this and have done a tremendous job of moving forward and putting it behind them - not neglecting it but putting it behind us and making our organization and our community a lot stronger than it may have been through some of those tougher times. Outside the community...it's (Joyce article) an opinion and you get a lot of different opinions from different people but I think it will slowly go away and I know from my standpoint that I've learned moving forward is that you have to be very careful who you open up your work to.
JK: There seems to be a lot of personal attacks and names mentioned. How does that make you feel?
DC: That's very tough and that's tough to watch. A family like the Mcbeans who have been mentioned numerous times over the years I can tell you first hand with the amount of work we do with them that they are first class people. They've endured their own tragedy at different times and the way they have been solid members of the community and within the organization I can't say enough about them. Colleen Macbean was honored a year ago with a WHL distinguished service award and that's not a one time thing, that's somebody that's put in and given a lot of time in their life to a community owned team, to a team who is developing a lot of young men not only on the ice but off. I just think that's a tragedy when that happens.
JK: What about the general thought in the article that Swift Current hasn't done enough to honor the four Broncos who died in the bus crash in 1986?
DC: Everybody deals with it differently and everybody has moved on. Not denied it, not underplayed it by any means. There's a lot of other areas where we still honour them, there's a trophy in the league named after them, we wear the four-leaf clover on our jersey every time we step on the ice. Those guys are not forgotten by any means, and not only in Swift Current but league wide.----------------------
Through all of this, there is a little bit of team news that has been forgotten. Defenseman Eric Doyle (pictured left) was held pointless in a 7-2 Canadian win over Germany today at the U-18 World Championships in Finland. Doyle and Canada are back on the ice Saturday when they play Latvia.
Broncos 18 year-old forward Levi Nelson is poised to make his pro hockey debut at some point this weekend with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. I'll track down how he's doing/did playing with the big boys.
Congratulations to fellow Lanigan-ite Sheldon Brookbank for capturing the "Eddie Shore Award" as the American Hockey League's top defenseman. The news came out earlier this afternoon. Those who have been reading the blog for awhile will remember the "Foley Crescent Crusher" post from a couple months ago. Good job Bill.
I was down at the Fairview Arena this afternoon for the opening game of the Western Shield "AAA" midget female Championships. I was impressed. The future of womens hockey in Canada looks bright for many years to come. These girls were really going at it. I was impressed with how well they competed and battled. Good luck to our Diamond Energy Wildcats this weekend. I'm hosting the awards banquet Saturday night, maybe we'll see some of you folks there.
Check back Friday AM for Chynoweth's take on Joyce. Deano usually doesn't care or is bothered by what the media has to say....he understands they have a job to do. Not this time.