Sunday, April 15, 2007

OK, One more round with Gare.

I guess Gare's flight was delayed...

Gare Joyce said...
Like I say, I've had emails from people who support my story and their comments have been supressed from blogs of Bronco-friendly, Bronco-affiliated folks. Read into that what you want. Likewise on Keen's blog, my subsequent comments have not been approved for viwing. As for editing on this blog, well, whatever.

Just to get facts straight, Bob Wilkie's quotes are from January, not ten years ago or whatever you suggested. And I talked to board memebers and to fans to an extent--amazing that somehow you were able to poll everyone who was at games that I attended in SC and presume that I didn't talk to any of them. And I interviewed people away from the rink to--for the record and on background. Did I put everuone I talked to into this story? No and the same can be said of my Mike Danton/David Frost story for ESPN The Magazine when I called on more than 60 of Mike Danton's high school classmates and dozens more of friends, former team-mates, former coaches, officials, etc. Just because it's not in the story, don't presume it's not there. Brady said everything attributed to him, denials aside, and everyone on the team and involved with the team knows that to be true. It's just the way things are, sad but true.

You're associated with the official broadcaster. I understand your position. There are truly bad guys--James above and beyond--and there are victims--Kennedy likewise. Between them is everyone else. You place me closer to James than the board memebers who did almost nothing to honour the dead. My head wil hit the pillow and I'll not miss a second's worth of sleep. Like I say, many more speak well of me than speak ill. That's not true in Swift Current, but given the town's sorry track record of mistaking winners for losers, I can live with it.
9:58 PM, April 14, 2007

Switzer said...

"Like I say, I've had emails from people who support my story and their comments have been supressed from blogs of Bronco-friendly, Bronco-affiliated folks. Read into that what you want. Likewise on Keen's blog, my subsequent comments have not been approved for viwing. As for editing on this blog, well, whatever."

I'm sure you do have support for your work. I'm sure you have friends and family who think you're amazing. I can't speak for any other websites and blogs, but as comments go, I have had NOTHING positive about you that I haven't posted. As for editing on this blog, what have I edited? Are you implying I've edited your words? We can continue this on your blog if you think you're being treated unfairly here. I will copy and paste for mine. People can compare. Should be fun.

So you did actually get new quotes from Bob Wilkie? In January? Just after his midget team played at the Macs with Bronco four leaf clovers on their jerseys? Another solid piece of info not found in "denial of death". Funny how you sought out the only Bronco alumni out of several hundred who has ever publicly spoken out about the team, save Sheldon and the "unnamed player" (I believe Wilkie is the only one, correct me if I'm wrong). Brad Larsen, Shane Hnidy and Dean McAmmond are just a few NHLers who played in Swift for Graham James. No sizzle there though. Just the same old boring quotes about us being a good hockey town and how nothing seemed wrong (Actually, Larsen would've given you a good story about a Bronco practice just before everything blew up).

As for my "official position, associated with the team's broadcaster" I've already clarified my stance there, but seeing as you like to go in cirlces, I'll say it again: I WAS A BRONCO FAN LONG BEFORE I WAS A RADIO PERSONALITY. This blog is not endorsed by Golden West Radio or the Broncos. My thoughts on this article would be the same regardless of my day job.

Let me rephrase something here. I'm sure you did "talk" to some fans. Spending five days in town even the most socially awkward people would need human interaction. You didn't quote anyone for your story. For all I know, you spent the day getting to know as many people as you could, then went to the Shack with your fur hat and sang 'Rasputin' on karaoke night. From the perspective of the reader, which is the most important perspective here, you ignored us, then attacked us.

I like how you closed you last comment;"Like I say, many more speak well of me than speak ill. That's not true in Swift Current, but given the town's sorry track record of mistaking winners for losers, I can live with it."

Well, back in December we did mistake you for an honest, credible reporter so I guess you got us there.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Another Round with Gare...

Yesterday's comments section has another reply from Gare, and more thoughts from me.

I will give Gare Joyce some credit in his thoughts about remembering the Four Players who died. Is it being taught in schools? Why doesn't our museum have anything? From the outside looking in, we do look like we have turned our back.

Problem is that Gare didn't actually talk to anyone. As a friend of mine who writes says, "he criticized the fans, but didn't talk to any of them". He would have found that we haven't forgotten.

Sadly Gare has told me he has to leave for an assignment so he's bowing out of our little battle.

Can't wait to read his next work.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Day 4....

Go back to this past monday for a complete recap of a crazy week of my thoughts and Gare Joyce's reaction to his less than flattering portrayal of our community in his espn article. If you're new to the saga, start at this past monday's post and work your way back. Also visit Jon Keen's blog (links to the right).

The Booster is all over this. Chynoweth is ticked and his thoughts echo that of most Bronco fans despite the fact Gare made him look like the good guy. Dahlman from the Prairie Post has weighed in too. As much as people from Swifty have criticized RD for being the "guy from Med Hat who tries to write about Swift Current" I think he did a great job in his editorial.

Gare's latest response. The question "what were your intentions when you came to town?" Copied from a previous comment section:

Gare Joyce said...
Actually, I thought I'd write about a ceremony like the Solidarity of Sorrow 20 years after. I just presumed that it would be in SC something like Nov 11 in Ottawa with veterans coming out, an annual event, large-scale tribute with a wide range of characters. I presumed that there would be something like this. There wasn't. I was told that the coach/GM proposed raising a banner in the arena in tribute to the Ruff, Kruger, Mantyka, Kresse, maybe bringing in their parents or family--that would be the coach/GM who, as a player, had been on the arena floor for the memorial 20 years before. That seemed to be a very reasonable and appropriate tribute--and it never had a chance. So my one story blew up and this one presented itself. (I had thought about doing a story structured around four players on the team who filled roles and lived lives parallel to the four Broncos who were killed ... but there wasn't a good fit, certainly no Mantyka or Kruger on the team.)

Only a moment of silence -- if that had been all, well, I might have done something else with the story. But the museum was almost spooky in Broncos-avoidance. When I went to city hall--I had to cut a paragraph on this for reasons of space--an official there brushed me off with the not-our-department line and said it was just up to the team. And then when Tim Tisdale told me that there was nothing done on an anniversary a few years back when he was coaching the Pats, well, that was just unseemly. (Fanner, of course, said they never did enough.) At that point I went in another direction.Fact is, no writer or reporter should go into a story with too many assumptions about what he's going to write--you report it first and then write, rather than finding facts to fit your story. I'd have loved to have done a story about Fanner dropping the puck at centre ice--she and Scoof were such great characters, it would have been great to write about her and Scott and Scoof and the twins, about how the town poured it all out for her. That didn't get to the board either, or if it did it would have been spiked.

And, yes, Fanner told me about Lorne. Re Kennedy and Wilkie--Kennedy said that James managed to fool many players, people around the team and around town--that he was manipulative, devious, duplicitous (funny, all the things you accuse me of). But Scott Kruger knew something was up, fans chants in other rinks were on point, and so you can't completely dismiss what Wilkie says either.

Yes, we've established that the museum is short on Bronco history. Point Joyce. Turn the page! I'm sure if you went to City Hall in 99% of WHL markets their city hall would give you the "not our department" line.

I find it odd that you cited members of the Kruger family as people who knew something was up with Graham, yet left out of your article that Fanner's brother and the Kruger boys' uncle was Lorne Frey. Graham's right hand man. No one worked closer to Graham than Lorne Frey. Not Honda, no one. If the Krugers had concerns, they certainly had an ear, a connection, someone to talk to about it. Gare, you have to admit your Fanner Kruger angle is lacking something. Lorne Frey is a great hockey man and was instrumental in building the dominant Bronco teams of yesterday. He's doing the same thing in Kelowna. He is a great hockey mind, a great person and obviously another example of someone who just didn't know... and was duped by a master manipulator.

The notion that our citizens turned a blind eye to a pedophile and seemingly sacrificed Sheldon Kennedy is absurd.

Did you know the largest attendance for a hockey game at the Civic Center was when Sheldon Kennedy came to Swift Current on his cross Canada tour? Between 3,000 and 3,500, basically one out of every 5 Swift Current residents showing support to Sheldon. Being someone who covered every angle, I'm sure you researched that fact too. The standing ovation he got that night? Another key moment in Bronco history you missed.

Yeah, we're a community in denial who turned our back on him.

I guess the whole community turning a blind eye and looking away looks better in print, doesn't it.

Short on facts. Short on truths. A great read for your peeps down east and in the US. Not fit for a bird cage lining in Swift Current.

I await your reply Gare...I'm not done yet. You seem to have one arrow that you want to fire over and over again. You shoot me, run over to pull the same arrow out, then shoot the same one again.

My quiver is full.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

It continues....

"Could you designate one or two of the fine SC citizens who are dumping on me to perhaps take a break and consider what might be a fitting tribute to the team and memorial for the players at the town museum where many are remembered--politicians, businessmen, athletes, and other local figures--but not the Broncos, not the championship team, not the four who lost their lives"

Gare after an great big article, you have finally made a solid factual point. Yes, we do have a disturbing lack of Bronco content in our museum. Other than that, half truths, misquotes and a general disrespect for our city and its hockey history.

Having gone back and read some of your posts, I'm disturbed by your labelling of the "McBain"s as "pathological". First of, your inability to spell their name furthers the case you did zero research. It's a sad shot at a family that has done alot for our community even in matters totally unrelated to hockey. Colleen's comments only relfect that NO ONE KNEW WHAT GRAHAM WAS UP TO (except Bob Wilkie, who kept quiet). At the time Graham James was viewed as a leader who guided the players and even the community through a tough time. Graham had a community fooled. He had the McBeans fooled. I hope I'm not out of line in saying Graham had Lorne Frey fooled.

Gare, I'm sure you did your research on Lorne Frey. Assistant coach, assistant GM, director of scouting from 1986 to 1991 for the Broncos. Graham's right hand man for five + years. Gare, this is nothing new to a steadfast researcher like you, so for everyone else's benefit; Lorne Frey was an uncle to the Krugers...and Fanner's brother.

Think on that for a second.

How many people would put their own blood in the sights of a sexual predator? Winning or not, no one was hiding anything. The guy who worked hand in hand with Graham James obviously had no clue about the true nature of Graham James. We were simply a community that didn't know. The McBean's comments were not "pathological". They where as you say "reflective" of how we were duped. Yes, it's easy now to say Graham was a monster and had no redeeming qualities, but the very people who said that had family working right next the monster for more than five years.

Graham was a horrible, horrible man. He fooled us all. Look at the facts, look at the people involved.

Hell, the Calgary Hitmen gave him a job. You'd think someone would've spoke up that maybe he wasn't a good hire? No one knew.

Gare, you owe the McBeans an apology. We'll add it to the list.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I want to thank everyone who has e-mailed me or left comments on this blog over the last few days. I've read them and I appreciate them. Ths blog has become a debate between myself and's Gare Joyce over this article

The debate can be found in the comments section of this blog. Check back over the last few days.

Gare Joyce has been kind enough to respond to my writings on this blog, my blog. On this debate I have home ice advantage. It is my blog, I have total control over what get's posted. It is read by my friends, my family and people in my hometown who have told me their views are similar to mine. Out of courtesy to Mr. Joyce, who has been kind enough to post several times, I'm trying to keep things neutral between the two of us, and make this a place free of name calling and us Swift Current folk "ganging up on him".

Please feel free to e-mail me. I may post it when things die down, and I will certainly read it.

One valid question from a long time Bronco fan (known as ointhecreek) is "Why do you keep dodging the question of why Graham James had to be brought in on a story about the four players who died?"

I think he came to Swift Current with the intention of doing a great article on the four players. When he saw that story lacked the sizzle the Big City/American media likes, he found Graham James and Brady's quotes a solid plan B.

That's just my thoughts on his motives. Gare, feel free to respond.

Gare also visited Keen's blog. They may fistfight.


One thing I do want to clarify: I can't imagine what Sheldon Kennedy had to endure all those years ago. The fact that more than 20 years later it still seems to haunt him speaks of the horror and trauma he went through. When I say that "the sum of Bronco hockey is more than Graham James" I'm not trying to discount what Sheldon experienced and the bravery he showed us all in coming forward and going public.

I think we as a community have moved on, yet we are still linked to this unfortunate and dispicable incident. It was something horrible that happened. I honestly don't believe that many people knew of it and turned a blind eye to the abuse. I used to be the stick boy and spent alot time in the space of Graham James. I never had any clue and was never given any reason to believe he was the predator he was. Sure we all heard the rumours about Graham being a homosexual, but I don't think anyone could have fathomed what was really happening.

It was a dark time, but to still link Swift Current and people who live here to this is like still linking Toronto to SARS. It happened, we payed our respects, we remember, but it is not our identity. Just my opinion and maybe I'm wrong, but I think that's why we're so ticked about this Gare Joyce article and how we're still so linked with the abuse as a community.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Never Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story


First things first, read this:

Also check out Keen's blog. He has some good comments from people in regards to the article. Good discussion as well on and

I've added some more thoughts since I first published this earlier today. If you've already read this, I've added content.

Gare Joyce was in Swift Current for the 20th anniversary of the bus crash. I was surprised at the negative slant he took in his article.

No mention of the dozens of volunteers required each game night that make Bronco hockey possible. Just talk of how they all ingnored the four broncos display in the lobby to get to selling 50/50 tickets.

No Mention of the challenges or successes of the smallest market in the CHL.

I hope Gord Hahn is cool with what was written about him. For "Honda" to be portrayed as anything other than a very caring individual with a heart of gold is unfair.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. "Don't haterize on Leo". Brady had his issues in the past and is a very articulate and smart kid. Writers have a VERY nasty habit of taking things out of context and only writing what proves their point. Brady could have very easily said "I love Swift Current, sure we have to pay for mistakes of past players but I enjoy my time here and wouldn't want to play anywhere else in the world."

Paper people and writers are notorious for doing this. Ask Harv Martinez how often the Lethbridge paper has skewed his post game words. Ask Dane Crowley about his first interview in an Everett paper. Most athletes have a story about being taken out of context by paper people. Thankfully our locals Bowditch and Mah are above this.

Gare Joyce spent an entire weekend on the bus and likely talked with everyone on the team. Anyone find it odd that of all the coaches and players he only quoted Leavold? That's cause Brady was the only one that gave him anything he could use in his negative article. All others probably had glowing reviews of our fans and of the city, leaving him with nothing.

I'm hurt that he thinks Swift Current doesn't show respect for the four players that died. I think we've all stopped to see the display in the lobby. I thikn we've all cracked a beer and talked about the four players and their impact. As a ten year old kid it was my first brush with death. Four of my heroes died that day. I'll never forget my mother just saying over and over again "those poor boys and their families" and watching her burst into tears while my young mind tried to process all of it. Maybe that's something I don't want to go through and relive everyday, but it doesn't mean I don't have respect for the display in the lobby.

"But if you put your ear to the door, you'd know this is the minimum interruption in a culture of denial in a town where the only thing tougher than looking through a scrapbook might be looking in a mirror."

I hope Gare Joyce can look himself in the mirror. A story of half truths. I would like to hear Brady Leavold actually say what Joyce claimed he said. I would like to hear the unedited tape recording. To slander our city and print those "quotes" from Brady is disgusting. To say that we as a community should have trouble "looking in a mirror" is lunacy. We should hold our heads high. We should be proud of the success of our team, and what we as a community have done to keep it viable. Parents of our prospects should know that their kids will have a good hockey experience in our city.

Maybe he's right in that we could have done more to commenorate the 20th anniversary of the loss of the four players. It is fortunate that there is no template for a situation like that in junior hockey. There is no 'right answer' when dealing with grief. Just another uninformed view of the little market that could in the CHL. Let him have his big city opinion and we'll remain "stoic".