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‘That’s going to be there for your life’: Former Swift Current Bronco reflects on ’86 bus crash
Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018 2:17PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:54PM CST
The outpouring of support for the Humboldt Broncos after a horrific bus crash last Friday night has come from across the country and even around the world.
Fifteen people were killed and another 14 injured when the team’s bus hit a tractor-trailer on Highway 35 near Tisdale.
While the loss in incomprehensible, the city of Swift Current has a dimension of understanding. In 1986, the Swift Current Broncos WHL team was in a bus accident that killed four of their players. Swift Current alumnus Tim Tisdale survived the crash.
“I felt guilt for quite a while, that you survive and some of your friends didn’t,” Tisdale said on Tuesday night in Swift Current. “I think you have to overcome that and try to move forward. And the importance of just talking about it. You can’t keep something like this inside, it just eats you up.”
Tisdale was in Swift Current for Game 3 between the Swift Current Broncos and the Moose Jaw Warriors. He works for the WHL as an officiator.
Sheldon Kennedy, another survivor of the ’86 crash, has spoken to members of the Humboldt team. But, Tisdale says he plans on waiting.
“Right at the beginning, there’s lots of people around and it’s up front,” he explained. “As time goes by, all of a sudden a lot of people disappear. So, I think I just want to wait a little while and go in when there’s not quite as many people.”
Tisdale said grief counselling wasn’t made available to the players following the ’86 crash. The coach at the time was convicted sex offender Graham James. But, seeing the hockey community rally behind the team was massive for morale.
“When the league has a ceremony in the arena here, had all the teams, had all the league around that, that helped a lot in the healing. Just to see everybody and you realize that so many people care.”
Tisdale said his perspective on life changed after the crash.
“At 18, you think you’re invincible and you have forever to do the things you want to do,” he said. “I think in my life, if there’s an opportunity to do something I try to do it.”
It hasn’t even been a week since the crash, but time eases the pain.
“As much as it goes away, it’s there,” Tisdale said. “It gets easier to talk about and easier to deal with, but unfortunately it’s something that’s going to be there for your life.”
Based on a report by CTV Regina's Claire Hanna