Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

“The Big Three have left the bench” – Dr. Terry Henning

Written by: Maury Wrubleski

Humboldt and area mourns the loss of one of its community pillars, Dr. Terry Henning. Dr. Henning passed away on May 20, 2022. A long time physician with deep community ties in Humboldt, Henning is remembered for his many accomplishments in the medical field, and also as one of the founding contributors to the Humboldt Broncos Jr. A Hockey Club.

Dr. Henning graduated from Luther College in Regina in 1956. After completing his medical degree in 1964, Henning moved to Humboldt to begin his practice in 1965 until 1999.

During his tenure in Humboldt, Henning served as Coroner for the Province of Saskatchewan, Chief of Staff at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, President of the Humboldt Medical Clinic, Associate Clinical Professor in Family Medicine with the University of Saskatchewan and a member of both the Canadian Medical Association Quality of Care Committee and the Canadian Council Health Service Accreditation Board.

Along with colleague, Doctor Gerald Rooney, Henning was one of the orchestrators of the Humboldt Broncos’ entry into the SJHL. The pair were known as Doc Henning and Doc Rooney to the junior players who found their way to Humboldt in the club’s formative years. One of those players from the early 70s was Bob Bachynski, now president of the Humboldt Broncos Alumni Association. Bachynski arrived in the dead of a Saskatchewan winter from his home in Nelson, BC as one of Henning’s and Rooney’s recruits. He reflects on the passing of those founders like Henning.

“I sent out an email to the alumni saying “The Big Three” have left the bench,” Bachynski said. “Doc Rooney, Doc Henning, and Elgar Peterson. They’ve all passed, but they were such a fixture at that time when I got to know the city of Humboldt.”

Bachynski clearly recalls the impact of those early days, with the Broncos’ identity forged from a connection with their Swift Current namesakes and the crowds hanging from the rafters in the Leo Parker Arena. It was Henning himself who made one of the strongest impressions, Bachynski maintains.

“Doc, when I reflect on him right now, he was a really amazing hockey mind, and he’s got to go down in history as bringing the Broncos a great foundation. He made everybody accountable on the team, and as young guys who ranged from fourteen to nineteen year olds, he was able to make sure we were all accountable.”

That accountability led to Bachynski’s impression of Doc as a bit of a taskmaster with high expectations. Bachynski also reflects on Doc’s inspirational nature.

“I remember at times him saying, ‘Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.’ I think he called back on the old Vince Lombardi sayings many, many times. He didn’t speak a lot and give a lot of accolades, so when he did, you knew that you were really in a good spot.”

Dr. Henning was also active with the development of the Humboldt Legion Swim Team, predecessor to the current day Hammerheads Swim Club. In his years of affiliation with the swim club, Henning and coaches nurtured the skills and interests of current day coaches such as Leisl Lefebvre. She recalls her early years of swimming under Henning’s teaching as she remains active with the club today.

Teaching was an important part of Henning’s medical career as he mentored many students and novices entering the profession. He was passionate about community involvement, but most certainly was always committed to his family.

The man known to many simply as “Doc” has left a lasting impression on the many lives he touched during his years in Humboldt.