1989 – Swift Current Broncos

There hasn’t been a more emotional Memorial Cup final than in 1989 at Saskatoon’s Saskatchewan Place.

On Dec. 30, 1986, the Swift Current Broncos’ bus, en route to Regina, crashed and four players — Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff — were killed.

On May 13, 1989, the Broncos won the Memorial Cup, beating the host Saskatoon Blades, 4-3 in overtime, before 9,078 fans in 7,752-seat Sask Place and a national TV audience. The tournament drew a record 77,296 fans.

Forward Tim Tisdale won it at 3:25 of OT, tipping in a pass from defenceman Darren Kruger, whose brother, Scott, had died in the accident. Trevor Kruger, Darren’s twin, was the Broncos’ goaltender.

“I was just standing there and it hit my stick,” Tisdale said. “I still don’t know how it went in.”

The Broncos led 2-0 on second-period goals from Sheldon Kennedy and Blake Knox. However, Saskatoon got goals from Scott Scissons, Tracey Katelnikoff and Kory Kocur to take a 3-2 lead into the third period.

The Broncos tied it when Kimbi Daniels scored at 5:59 of the third period.

The Broncos outshot the Blades, 34-24. In overtime, Saskatoon had a 5-1 edge, but couldn’t beat Trevor Kruger.

Trevor had been on the bus that fateful day, as were Kennedy, Tisdale, defencemen Dan Lambert and Bob Wilkie, and forward Peter Soberlak.

“When we came back in here I just sat in my stall and thought things over,” said Lambert, the tournament’s MVP. “You see it on TV and you dream about it, but you never expect something like this to happen.

“Today, it happened for me.”

The tournament also featured the Peterborough Petes and Laval Titan.

The Broncos opened on May 6, beating the Petes, 6-4, with Kennedy scoring twice. Tie Domi did likewise for Peterborough.

That night, the Blades beat Laval, 5-3, on two goals form Brian Gerrits.

The following day, Peterborough got two goals from Ross Wilson in beating Saskatoon, 3-2.

That night, Swift Current clinched a playoff spot by edging Laval, 6-5, on Daniels’ second goal at 15:20 of the third period.

On May 9, Laval edged Peterborough, 3-1, leaving both teams at 1-2 and forcing a tiebreaker.

On May 10, Saskatoon earned a berth in the final, beating the Broncos, 5-4. Both teams were 2-1; the Blades were in because of this victory. The teams played a scoreless third period after Saskatoon’s Darin Bader broke a 4-4 tie at 17:01 of the second period.

In the May 11 tiebreaker, the Petes got 37 saves from goaltender Todd Bojcun and two goals from Mike Ricci in ousting the Titan, 5-4.

The Broncos beat the Petes, 6-2, in the semifinal, behind two goals from each of Tisdale and Trevor Sim.

That set up the first all-WHL final. After it ended, the Regina Leader-Post’s headline said it best — Broncos: A Memorial victory.

1989 Swift Current Broncos:

Scott Albert, Kevin Barrett, Kimbi Daniels, Don Blishen, Peter Kasowski, Sheldon Kennedy, Jeff Knight, Kevin Knopp, Blake Knox, Darren Kruger, Trevor Kruger, Chris Larkin, Dan Lambert, Evan Marble, Trent McCleary, Mark McFarlane, Kyle Reeves, Matt Ripley, Brian Sakic, Geoff SandersonTrevor Sim, Wade Smith, Peter Soberlak, Tim Tisdale, Bob Wilkie.

NHL: Sanderson played parts of 17 NHL seasons between 1991 and 2008, recording 700 career points over 1104 contests. He scored 30 goals during the Columbus Blue Jackets’ inaugural season in 2000-01.