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The Broncos hope that success in the near future will honour the team’s storied past and four players who died in a bus crash. Brent Ruff (the brother of Dallas coach Lindy Ruff), Trent Kresse, Scott Krueger and Chris Mantyka died when the team’s bus was travelling on an icy patch of highway outside Swift Current and flipped on its side Dec. 30, 1986.“The bus crash is something that really motivates us. It drives everybody,” said Lamb, who won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1989 90 and a Turner Cup with Houston of the International Hockey League as a player assistant coach in 1998 99. If the cheap packers jerseys Broncos do win the WHL championship, it would be the first since convicted sex offender Graham James coached them to their two league titles and Memorial Cup victory. But Lamb said the team is not aiming to win a title to separate itself from James, whose victims included former NHLers Sheldon Kennedy and Theo Fleury. “We don’t talk about Graham,” said Lamb. “It’s such a black cloud.” In the past four seasons, the Broncos missed the playoffs twice and failed to advance beyond the first round in the other two, including 2012 13 when they were eliminated by the Calgary Hitmen. Although Swift Current has gone 3 4 1 2 in its past 10 games, Lamb and his players believe they can contend when the season is on the line in the spring.
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Lamb does not want to think about his team’s title hopes until the playoffs draw closer, but it’s evident that players, and some of Swift Current’s approximately 18,000 residents and surrounding population of about 70,000, are daring to dream big.“We’re a hard working team, and we care for each other and we play for each other,” said Cave. “Coming from a small town, we want people to know that we’re a contender, no matter what the size of the centre that we play in.” According to Foo Choo and Lamb, the Broncos franchise has less margin for error because of its small market status. The club, which plays in an arena that seats only 2,860, has struggled financially in recent campaigns. This season, said Foo Choo, attendance is down but revenues are up as the non profit organization takes in more dollars via increased advertising, corporate sales, regional marketing and fundraising efforts. Foo Choo said the club, which models itself after the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and NFL’s Green Bay Packers, also has to battle negative stereotypes about small town life when selling the community’s benefits to teenage recruits and their parents. But according to current Broncos, playing in a smaller centre has some distinct advantages. “You’ve got a lot of guys coming from big cities like Calgary and Edmonton and Winnipeg (and) Vancouver,” said Cave. “It’s a different environment, but I think it brings the guys together a lot more. You see the guys around town. You run into them pretty often compared to how you would in a Calgary and a Vancouver.” Centre Nathan Burns, 20, who was acquired in a Jan. 1 trade from Saskatoon and has also played for the Vancouver Giants, said it is definitely different playing in Swift Current, where “it feels like everybody knows everybody.” But he believes the team’s closeness will play a critical role in the playoffs. He likened the Broncos to the Vancouver squad which reached the Western Conference finals when he played for them as a 16 year old. That Giants squad was also a close knit group and, Cheap hockey Jerseys like the Broncos, had considerable size on its first and second lines. Burns, an Edmonton native who is completing his junior eligibility, hopes he can help Lamb’s decision to acquire him pay off in the playoffs. “At the end of my junior career, I obviously want to go as far as I can and end it off on a good note,” said Burns. “Here in Swift Current, I have a really good chance of doing that.” Notes_Lamb also served one season as an ass