SWIFT CURRENT, Saskatchewan -- Four members of the Swift Current Broncos junior hockey team were killed and three others injured Tuesday night when their bus skidded off an icy highway and overturned, authorities said.
The accident occurred about 6:30 p.m. EST some 4 miles east of Swift Current, a town of about 12,000 people in the southeastern part of the province. It is about 350 miles east of Calgary, Alberta.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police would not release the names of the dead players, but United Press International learned early Wednesday they were: center Scott Kruger, 19; winger Trent Kresse, 20; forward Chris Mantyka, 19; and forward Brent Ruff, 16.
Ruff's brother, Lindy, is a veteran left wing on the Buffalo Sabres.
The injured include forward Kurt Lackten, with a possibly broken back; defenseman Bob Wilkie, with bruised hips; and team trainer Doug Leavins, who reportedly was driving the bus, with undisclosed injuries. Their ages were not available.
All 28 people aboard, including coaches and media, were taken to Union Hospital in Swift Current. The four who died were dead on arrival, sources said.
Except for Wilkie, Lackten and Leavins, the others on board were treated for minor injuries and released.
An RCMP spokesman said the bus was headed east along a four-lane, divided stretch of the TransCanada Highway when it hit freezing drizzle and snow, left the road and overturned.
The area had been hit by a blizzard earlier in the day.
The Broncos play in the Western Hockey League, one of the main suppliers of talent to the NHL. They were en route to Regina, Saskatchewan, for their first game after a Christmas break.
'I felt us sliding,' said winger Gord Green, 19, one of the survivors of the wreck. ''We're going off the road,' I thought. I felt one bang. All I remember is, I was on somebody. All I could see was my legs in the air. Some guys pulled some seats off me.'
Green said the dead players had been sitting in the back of the bus - where he usually sits.
'For some reason, I was up front this trip,' Green said. 'I was up there talking to (teammate) Lonnie Spink. (Afterward) I felt like I was going to be sick.'
After escaping the wreck, Green said, he saw two bodies about 30 feet away that had been thrown out of the bus by the impact.
Several current NHL players once played for the Broncos, including Bryan Trottier of the New York Islanders and Dave 'Tiger' Williams of the Los Angeles Kings.