For one night, the Swift Current and Humboldt Broncos will wear the same jersey in a fundraiser for STARS.
It’s no small feat to capture the legacy and loss of the storied franchises in one image. So when the teams decided to create a specialty jersey that honoured both clubs, who better to turn to than one of their own?
“We’re one. We’re the Broncos,” former Swift Current Broncos captain Taylor Vause said. “Even though we’re two different teams and two different communities we’ve experienced two tragedies and come out strong on the other side.”
The professional hockey player-turned graphic designer crafted his first jersey when he designed a Swift Current Broncos breast cancer sweater for the team when he was still a teenager.
He later design a third jersey honouring the 25th anniversary of the fatal 1986 crash that took the lives of four Swift Current players.
But the pressure of a Swift Current and Humboldt creation proved to be both a challenge and an outlet for grief.
“It was horribly sad,” Vause said of the April 6 collision that killed 16 people. “I didn’t really know how to show my support. I knew that one day, however it was going to be, I was going to have that opportunity. In the end, the jersey is my chance to show that support.”
The finished product required hours of research and painstaking detail.
“The coat of arms was meant to represent a family,” Vause explained.
A shield represents the province of Saskatchewan, with each city represented by a star. The maple leaf represents the outpouring of support from around the country in the wake of both tragedies.
Both teams are represented by a pair of Broncos and a large letter ‘B’.
The most telling detail, though, may be the latin motto- ‘celer et adaux’, which means swift and bold.
“That’s one of the special things about a jersey. It can represent so many things. In this situation, I hope it represents those people in the right way,” Vause said.
His ties to both organizations run deep. Besides his own four-years spent in Speedy Creek, his father, Dean, suited up for both Swift Current and Humboldt in the 1970’s.
“I watched what he put into this. His heart and soul, all that research. He didn’t throw it together,” Dean said. “We’re prairie folk. Broncos for life.”
The jerseys debut Nov. 2 when the Swift Current Broncos take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Humboldt Broncos face the Melville Millionaires, with crash survivor Tyler Smith expected to make his return to the ice.
At the time of publishing this article, bids on the Broncos Strong jerseys reached more than $7,000 total.