June 19th, 2024

Local author hopes to connect with former Broncos

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on March 4, 2023.

Rick Gal and Bob Rouse battle a visiting team during the Lethbridge Broncos 82-83 WHL championship season. Herald file photo

A local author who penned a book about the Lethbridge Broncos is looking to connect with the community about the team and their time in the city.

Mark Weninger is the author of The Lethbridge Broncos, an unauthorized history of the team during its decade in the WHL franchise. Published back in September, Weninger has started a “Lethbridge Broncos Blog” to share more stories about the team, along with connecting with more players to expand on their time here in Lethbridge.

“I finished the book in the end of August and it was published for sale by the end of September,” said Weninger. “I think we have sold probably around 350 books, which I’m pretty happy with. But I think there is a lot more to be said. Primarily because the players are spread out all over North America, and you can’t just look in a photo book anymore, so I created the Lethbridge Broncos Blog.”

Weninger hopes with this blog campaign he can connect with more players and expand on his stories.

“I’m devoting the entire blog to the Lethbridge Broncos, I contacted a number of Broncos recently that I hadn’t contacted when writing the book. That includes Stan Jensen, who scored the very first goal of the Broncos back in 1974.”

The Lethbridge Broncos played 12 seasons before returning to Swift Current, and the book details their beginnings, their highs and lows, and explores their departure in the spring of 1986.

“When I was 17-years-old I worked at a gas station and it was owned by Earl Ingarfield and Dennis Kjeldgaard, who owned the Broncos. I was always a hockey fan, and the Broncos were always coming in to get gas, so I ended up chatting with them and got to know them,” said Weninger. “They were my team and I loved them. I loved watching them play for the twelve years they were in Lethbridge.”

All proceeds from the sale of the books go to the Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS), a program developed and run by a former Bronco, Norm Flynn. Flynn uses hockey to teach life-skills and empower marginalized youth, and provide programs for at-risk children and youth.

“I’ve already donated $1,000, and I hope I can donate thousands more,” said Weninger. “It works with disadvantaged youth; mentoring. It is done in a way that it’s long-term involvement. It’s a tremendous program, and it uses hockey to help young people by using the game to help connect with them.”

Eager sports fans can pick up a copy of Weninger’s book from Analog Books in Lethbridge, 322 6 St. S., and check out his blog at lethbridge-broncos-blog.com.

“I love doing this. I love sitting and talking to these guys and have them tell me their story. It’s been a wonderful time. It brings back a lot of memories, and some of these guys haven’t thought too much about it for years. I love doing it, and I just want to help a worthy cause.”

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