A new book compiled by a well-known sports columnist celebrates the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s 50th anniversary and commemorates the Broncos collision.
Heart & Soul of the SJHL was put together by Rod Pedersen. It was released Dec. 10 and focused on each Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) team, including those that fell apart in time.
It is his third book, and has been the most successful opening week out of any of them as of his signing.
“It’s selling out in most SJHL markets and I’ve had worldwide reaction,” Pederson said. “A lot of it, frankly, is hockey players who played in the SJ and are now in Europe, sprinkled all over the globe, they want this book, so we’re trying to find ways to ship it to them.”
He started his book in spring of 2016 when he was approached by Bill Chow, president of the SJHL, who was looking for someone to write a book on the SJHL for their 50th anniversary.
“He happened to be standing, he told me, in a bookstore in Saskatoon, ‘who could write this?’ and he looked down and he saw my Rider book sitting there. So there’s only one guy, he said, would be the best choice to do this.”
Pedersen said he was honoured to be chosen.
“Bill and I have gone back since I was the voice of the Raiders since I was like 20 years old,” Pedersen said.
Different authors were put in charge of different sections.
Humboldt, Melfort, Nipawin and two other sections were prepared by Dave Leaderhouse.
“He was mad I didn’t ask him to do more and I said, ‘whoa, I would have had to put your name on the front of the book if you did more.’”
His biggest challenge with the book was the Humboldt tragedy.
“That night I thought, I got to get a hold of Bill and see if this book is going to continue or not, and now is not the time so I waited a couple of weeks and I got a hold of him. I asked, ‘are we going to continue to do this?’ and he said, ‘not only are we continuing, we’re going to do a special commemorative section on all 29 Broncos.’”
Clark Stork, former Humboldt Broncos and current Nipawin Hawks radio play-by-play announcer, was put in charge of writing the commemorative section.
“He was the only guy I thought that could pull this together. Clark notified me of the crash the night that it happened. Clark’s intimately close to the situation,” Pedersen said. “If Bill thought I was the best or only guy to write this book, Clark was the only guy to do the Humboldt section.”
Pederson made sure families of the victims had a chance to view the book and request edits, though in the end no edits had to be made.
“I mean, Clark nailed it,” Pedersen said. “But they had to approve all of that.”
Afterwards they received a note thanking them from Kevin Garinger, the former Broncos president, thanking them for how they handled it.
“That’s a feather in Clark’s cap and everybody else involved.”
Pedersen encourages SJHL fans to buy his book.
“All I say, and I say to everybody,” Pedersen said. “If you love hockey and you love Saskatchewan you will love this book, because it has got everything in it. I don’t think we’ve left anything out.”