When Bruce Vance and former Raider general manager Don Clark helped start the Prince Albert Raider Wall of Honour in the early 2000s as part of the “Bring Back the Magic” campaign, neither of them thought they’d have their own place on it.
Fast forward to the present day and both will have adjacent plaques when Vance is inducted in the builder category on Oct. 20 before the Raiders game against the Regina Pats.
“When Donnie and I made this, we both laughed and said, ‘There’s no way that we’ll be on this wall any time’.” Vance recalled. “And here we are, I’m pretty honored to go up right beside Don Clark’s plaque. It’s a very special honor for me.”
Vance will be inducted into the builder category. Vance spent 14 seasons with the Raiders serving as the team’s Director of Marketing and Business Manager from 2001-2015, before he left to take a position with the City of Prince Albert.
Prior to his time with the Raiders, Vance was employed by the Lethbridge Hurricanes from 1996-2001, including the 1997 season where the team won their only WHL championship to date.
Vance says he has very fond memories of working in the WHL, especially for the Raiders.
“Certainly, the Raiders have been a big part of my life. I’ve worked there for 14 years after coming from Lethbridge. I enjoyed my time immensely in the Western Hockey League working with some amazing staff and of course the fans and board of directors. It was an incredible time in my life and something I cherish a lot. To be nominated onto the Wall of Honour is something I thought would never happen.”
Since the Raiders made the announcement that Vance would be inducted, he says he has gotten several text messages and phone calls with congratulatory messages.
“It’s overwhelming. I’ve had a number of texts and phone calls. It’s crazy the response it’s gotten so far. I’m sure it’ll be very busy over the next couple of days leading up to the night.”
Arguably the most important movement Vance was a part of the “Bring Back the Magic” campaign which saw the creation of the Johnny Bower Lobby and major renovations done to the Comuniplex (now known as the Art Hauser Centre) in order to keep the Raiders in Prince Albert after the WHL inspected the building and found several aspects not up to league standards.
Vance says seeing the support the community had for the Raiders at that time was something he will always remember.
“That was a very big part of my time with the Raiders and certainly I got to see the Communiplex back in the old wooden seat days and then the transformation into what you see now, which has been heads and tales better than what we had before. That was incredible to see the outpouring of love and money from the community to the Bring Back the Magic campaign led by Art Hauser and his million-dollar donation, which was big news back in 2004. At the time we thought it would be a ten-year fix, but it looks like it’s going to be a 20 year plus fix. To see the old building become a new building basically in a number of months was special.”
Outside of his work with the Raiders, Vance would serve as a co-manager alongside his wife Liane with the Prince Albert A & W Bears (now known as the Prince Albert Northern Bears) from 2011-2015, served as the president of the Crescent Acres Community Club for seven years and was named the 2009 Volunteer of the Year by Softball Saskatchewan.
“Bruce is very well deserving of this honour.” said former Raider head coach and current Prince Albert Northern Bears bench boss Steve Young in a press release. “Working with him during my time with the Raiders was exceptional. Hockey is an industry where there are ups and downs, but Bruce always had a positive nature and a smile to keep things going. Bruce was very proud to serve the community and be a member of the Prince Albert Raiders.”
Vance was also recently honored by the Prince Albert Northern Bears when they wore ‘Team Bruce’ jerseys during their home opener last weekend as part of a fundraiser that contributed over $23,000 to the Victoria Hospital Foundation and Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan. Vance is currently battling colon cancer.