Culp was most impressed by the fact that the players, despite the tragedy, have grown up to be amazing individuals. She is pleased that the players who have read advance copies of the book feel it is an honest, detailed and correct account of this unforgettable piece of their lives.
"That to me means more than any feedback that I get from the media. I was more concerned about making sure that these people were not hurt all over again. I just felt that it deserved to be told. It's a very fascinating and incredible story."
She also hopes readers in Swift Current will have a good reaction to it. She points out they were in the early stages of gathering information for their project when Gare Joyce wrote an article for ESPN entitled Denial of Death, a scathing piece which trashed the franchise's observations of the fatalities on the 20th anniversary of the crash.
"Our book's not like that. We hope that people don't see it that way."
Her hope for the book is that it honours the memory of the four players and shines a spotlight on what she feels is one of the best hockey stories in Canada.
"I think it's just such a very unique situation in how it was a tragedy, and how these kids pulled through, and are functioning adults now. It's neat to see how these guys got through, and I just hope other people read it and just go 'wow'. Because the way I felt. I was there for a snippet of their lives. I was there for like seconds, and witnessed what they experienced, and I'm amazed that how they got through all that. Because I know just being there for a little bit of time, how it affected me for that year after. I just think that these guys lived it, and how they managed to get through. When people read that kind of stuff I think they can't help but be amazed."
Wilkie is also hoping to turn the message in the book into a living lesson for today's athletes. He has developed a keynote address in connection to the book, so he is not just reading from the book or signing copies, but making a whole presentation on the life lessons from that day in 1986.
"It's actually talking about a lot of the things in the book, how we overcame those things and how they can overcome certain things in their life," Wilkie said of his keynote address. "We want to make them aware of some of the difficulties and how they can get through all of those things, and help them feel successful."
He is happy with the way the book turned out and has always felt it was a story that needed to be told.
"I remember watching "We Are Marshall" the tragedy about the kids dying in the plane accident and how they were able to overcome.
"I don't know of a better story - and maybe I'm a little partial because I'm a part of it - but I don't know if there's a better success story out there."
"I think that's one of the great things about sport, and I think about those certain times in life that we go through, and for us it was the hockey, and the tragedy, and then the triumph. There's different people in our lives that come in and out, and they cause us to feel about life how we always want to feel about it. And I know that's what that time in Swift Current was, it was all the ups and downs of life. The more we were together the more we realized we could get through it."
Wilkie highlighted that their success story occurred when they were just teenagers with unbelievably high expectations.
"We didn't know anything. Thinking back when I was writing it, it's like we had all these expectations that we were supposed to be phenomenal all the time, and that we were supposed to be mature and responsible, but we were kids. We didn't know how to do that. We knew what the words were but we didn't know how to be that. I think that's what we learned how to be in those years together, was how we can forge through when times are difficult. And I know that those times in Swift Current, and what I learned from my teammates, helped me immesureably through some of the bigger challenges that I've had in my life."
"If it wasn't for that experience that I went through in Swift I don't think I would be the man that I am today."
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