Friday, February 6, 2009 - PRAIRIE POST -
Founders proud of Broncos’ history
BY ELIZABETH HUBER For the first six years, the community tried with the “founders” from Swift Current. Finally, in September of 1986 the puck was
SASKATCHEWAN to make a go with a Tier II hockey team and Looking back over the list of teams which dropped at centre ice and the Swift Current
Nearly three decades ago, a group of Swift
by 1980, talk about bringing a WHL team were in financial trouble or wanted out of Broncos were back in action. It was a game
Current businessmen began working on
back into the community gained the league at that time it is a wonder Swift Rittinger doesn’t remember much about,
bringing a Western Hockey League franchise
momentum. Current was so insistent. but he does remember “we won.”
back to Swift Current.
A massive sales team was pulled together “I don’t remember that being an issue,” Before the first puck dropped the work
Twenty-nine years later, they were
and managed to sell $150,000 worth of said Rittinger. “It wasn’t well known (they wasn’t done. A coach needed to be hired,
formally recognized and celebrated for their
shares that first year, explained Rittinger. were struggling) but when they found out the concession needed to be set up and
accomplishments and determination in an
Howver, with no purchase coming through a we were looking for a franchise they would billets needed to be found for each of the
on-ice presentation at the Swift Current
wave of defeat hit and all the money was contact us.” boys.
given back. Each franchise transfer that almost came Then it was December 30, 1986 when the
Broncos game on Jan. 31.
Not content with the outcome of previous to agreement before falling through required young franchise lost four players in a bus
The general history of the franchise tends
attempts another sales team was put a great amount of work, he added. accident. It was a blow to the players, the
to be well known, but the perseverance of
together in 1982 and $200,000 — half the First prices were negotiated, agreements franchise and the community.
the “13 founders”; Lloyd Ailsby, Garry
cost of a franchise — was raised in shares were created, a MacBean lawyer would draft Looking back there were about six years
Bollinger, Bryon Campbell, John Froese, Stan
sold in denominations $2,000 and $500 to the legal work and Bollinger would work out that where a whirlwind, said Rittinger.
Horner, Gord Janke, Frank MacBean, Bill
local businesses and individuals. the credit agreements since they had only “After going through all the years of being
Mann, John Rittinger, Gerry Salter, Wally
Four years, many share holder meetings raised enough for about half the purchase turned down by all those teams and all
Walker, Jim Warren and Ben Wiebe (the
and nine agreements later a deal was price. At times, my secretary would wonder those meetings and all those negotiations
current Governor) may become a sidebar in
secured and the franchise was purchased if she worked for an engineering firm or a for money and then to finally get the team,”
the history books. The Swift Current
from Dennis Kjelgaard in Lethbridge. hockey team, chuckled Rittinger. he listed. Then losing players, making it to
Broncos Hockey club was created with the
Now, that is where the story of To top it off, periodic meetings were held playoffs and coming back the next year to
Western Hockey League in 1966, but it was
perseverance of the founders comes with stakeholders to ask for extensions on build to the 1989 Memorial Cup
moved to Lethbridge in 1974.
into play. the amount of time they could hold the Championship was almost “too much.”
The reason for the move, explained John
It was a shopping list which extended money. Looking forward, “we will always support
Rittinger who played a crucial role in
across the Western Hockey League. The “I had one experience giving it back and I this team in Swift Current ... because it is so
bringing the team back, was because teams from Winnipeg, Kamloops, Seattle, wasn’t prepared to do it again,” added important to us it might even end up on the
Lethbridge had a brand new rink and the Calgary, Kelowna, Brandon, New West Rittinger, the conviction still heard in his tax roll like the library,” finished Rittinger
Broncos were struggling to survive. Minster and Regina were all in discussions voice. with a chuckle.
Swift’s high-school basketball teams lose in tourneys
SWIFT CURRENT after one quarter and 24-9 by the half. Briana give them a renewed life. They reduced the performances off the bench by Paige Patey
The two Swift Current high school
Wilms had 14 points and Jane Kennedy deficit to one point by the end of the third and Amy Pepin.
basketball teams were in tournament action
chipped in with 12 points. quarter and built up as much as a five-point Although the two losses were
last weekend. Unfortunately, both came
• Ardens 51 St Mary 49 (Prince Albert) lead in the fourth quarter. disappointing, it was good to see how the
Ardens again struggled for most of the Carlton, with the help of some takeaways, Ardens matched up with the best 4A
The Colts were in the 43rd Annual Raider
game. Down 30-24 at half and by as many as regained the lead with two minutes left and teams in the province. The weekend
Basketball Classic at Yorkton Regional and
12 points in the last quarter. Finished the the Ardens weren’t able to get it back. indicated to the Ardens that with
finished fourth in their bracket of the
game on a 17-3 run to steal the victory from Lindsay Siemens had 21 points and Teneil continued effort and improvement a
tourney and eighth overall.
their 4A rivals. Wilms scored 22 points. Janzen had her most productive game as an return trip to Hoopla is a possibility.
• Ardens 57 Moose Jaw Central 67 Arden with 16 points. The Ardens were Next action is in a 5A tournament in
Game 1: Colts 80 - Melville Cobras 72;
A close game from the start with the helped by some timely defensive Saskatoon. The Ardens record is 15-5.
Leading Scorers: Tylor Walsh and Sidney
Ardens holding a 21-20 lead after the first
Heuer 17 pts.
quarter and a 32-29 halftime lead.
Game 2: Colts 35 - AEP Toilers 105; Leading
The third quarter hurt the Ardens by
Scorers: Bradley Boux 14 pts, Tylor Walsh 10
being outscored 26-11. Many of the Cyclone
points came off of costly Arden turnovers.
Game 3: Colts 69 - YRHS Raiders 84;
Ardens fought back hard in the fourth
Leading Scorers: Tylor Walsh 20 pts, Connor
quarter to get within three but Central, who
Chau 10 pts.
is ranked #2 in 4A, nailed some outside
Game 4: Colts 82 - Lloydminster Holy
shots in the last few minutes to seal the win.
Rosary Raiders 94; Leading Scorers: Tylor
Wilms had 13 points and 11 rebounds
Walsh 24 pts, Connor Chau 16 pts.
while Lindsay Siemens had 11 points, Katie
Next action for the Colts will be Feb. 6-7 at
Arvam had 10 and Teneil Janzen had nine.
Prince Albert St. Mary. First game is vs. the
• Ardens 60 Prince Albert Carlton 63
A good challenge against the top ranked
The Ardens were also in a Jan. 30-31
4A team in the province. Another close
Each month during the WHL season Prairie Post recognizes a
tournament, this time in Moose Jaw.
game which saw the Ardens trail at half by
five points. Ardens struggled to break the Broncos player that has made an impact in the community.
• Ardens 51 Kinistino 21
Carlton man-to-man press. The Ardens
A sluggish start to the first game after
changed into a man-to-man part way
coming off the exam break. They led 11-6
through the third quarter that seemed to
#16 - Matt Tassone
Matt Tassone is the January recipient
of the Prairie Post Volunteer of
the Month Award. So far this
season Matt has donated his
time to community player
appearances including the
the Broncos Night and
community skates with the
Broncos. Matt was also
ach month during the Broncos regular
involved in rural school
season, one lucky fan, aged 12 or under, will visits to Gull Lake,
win a pizza supper with his or her favorite
Hazlet and Cabri.
Bronco, courtesy of Prairie Post & Boston Pizza in
Swift Current. Enter to win at all Bronco Home
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