The Western Hockey League in association with the Canadian Hockey League today announced that the ‘Four Broncos’ who died in a tragic team bus accident in 1986, will be honoured during the pre-game ceremony at the ADT Canada Russia Challenge game between Team WHL and the Russia Selects in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on Wednesday, November 26th.
Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff were killed December 30th, 1986 when the Broncos team bus crashed just outside of Swift Current on its way to Regina. The accident occurred in a snowstorm when the bus lost control on an overpass and slid into the ditch, flipping on its side. The Broncos have since retired the jerseys of the ‘Four Broncos’ and their numbers are crested within a Shamrock on every Broncos player jersey and displayed in a memorial at the Credit Union i-plex Arena in Swift Current. During the 1987-88 season the Western Hockey League re-named its most prestigious individual award the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy which is presented each year to the WHL’s Player of the Year at the League’s annual Award Luncheon.
Taking part in the pre-game ceremonies and representing the families of the ‘Four Broncos’ is Darren Kruger, brother of the late Scott Kruger, and current Assistant Coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Darren joined the Broncos the year following the tragic accident (1987-88) and played alongside his twin brother Trevor for two years. Both Darren and Trevor played pivotal roles with the Broncos during the 1988-89 season that saw the Broncos win the WHL and Memorial Cup Championships.
The ADT Canada Russia Challenge is an important part of the selection process for both Russia and Canada’s National Junior Team before their final selection camps for the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships that will be hosted in Ottawa, ON. Canada has won four straight gold medals, including defeating Sweden in the 2008 tournament hosted in the Czech Republic. Canada beat Russia in the gold medal game three straight years from 2005-2007.
The ADT Canada-Russia Challenge continues tonight in St. Catharines, Ontario as the Niagara IceDogs host game four of the series. (7:00 p.m. on Rogers Sportsnet).The two WHL games will be hosted in the province of Saskatchewan by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday, November 26th and the Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday, November 27th. Game tickets are available at the Prince Albert Raiders office (306) 764-4263 and at the Swift Current Broncos office (306) 773-1509 Ext. 1.