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08-15-2012, 02:09 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Raleigh NC
Country: United States
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C Cliff Ronning

869 points (306 G, 563 A) in 1137 regular season games
86 points (29 G, 57 A) in 126 playoff games
7 seasons with 60 or more points, including 1 of 71 and one of 85 points

the numbers that always defined Cliff Ronning were his height of 5'8" inches and size at 165 pounds.

His all life Ronning faced detractors and experts who said many years ago he would never make it in the NHL, because he was too small. No matter how impressive his offensive numbers were in junior, international or minor pro hockey, he was always told he was not big enough for the National Hockey League.

The shifty centre believes the constant criticism actually helped him become the great NHL hockey player he became more so than hinder him.

"It did the opposite. If anything, I'd like to thank those people who said that. That's what kept me wanting to keep proving things," he said. "If no one said anything, I probably wouldn't have that feeling I have to keep proving myself."

Ronning had hands soft enough to stickhandle in a phone booth. He also has great first-step speed, which he utilizes in a variety of ways to help his teammate, most notably by turning on a dime while carrying the puck to buy him extra time. Ronning has a knack of finding the hole in the open ice and he is effective at distracting a goalie by using his speed to buzz around a net. He’s also tremendously poised, and despite his size, was never afraid to zip in and out of the high traffic areas. Ronning was particularly dangerous on the power play, where he loved to come off the wall and curl into the slot where he would either pass to the corners or slip in further to unleash his weak but accurate shot.

In Vancouver, Ronning immediately was given the opportunity to succeed. He finished the season with 12 points in 11 games before leading all Vancouver skaters in goals and points in the playoffs.

The following year, 1991-92, he finished second in Canucks scoring with 71 points. In the following post-season, he again led all Vancouver skaters with playoff goals, and finished just one point out of the scoring lead.

1992-93 proved to be Ronning's finest individual season. He scored a career high 29 goals and 85 points, finishing second to Pavel Bure in the team scoring race.

The 1993-94 regular season was a disappointment for both Ronning and the Canucks.

Both the Canucks and in particular Ronning rectified their poor regular season showing in the playoffs. The team went on an unexpected playoff run, finishing just one goal shy in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Ronning's 5 goals and 15 assists during that post season may be overshadowed by the likes of Bure, Trevor Linden, and Geoff Courtnall, but Ronning was a significant contributor to that magical post season run. The hometown hero added boyhood spunk to his already established reputation as a playoff warrior. John Davidson, colour man on the MSG/ESPN television broadcasts, was so impressed that he called Ronning "one of the top three forwards in the finals, perhaps Vancouver's best." In a match up that featured the likes of Bure, Linden, Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Alexei Kovalev, that is an impressive compliment.

The man everyone said was too small to play in the NHL is better remembered as the shifty, creative, and dauntless warrior who always brought everything he could, particularly in the playoffs when he raised his game to another level.
Legends of Hockey
In 1985, Cliff Ronning was showered with accolades as he wrapped up his two-year career with the New Westminster Bruins of the WHL. He won the league's scoring race and was voted the WHL's MVP and selected as a First-Team All-Star.

But when the NHL draft was held, the diminutive centreman didn't stand tall enough to rate very highly in the minds of the NHL's brass. Instead, it would be up to Ronning to prove himself all over again, this time, at the NHL level.

He was eventually picked up in the sixth round by the St. Louis Blues. But Ronning had a strong relationship with Canada's Olympic program. His flashy style, mobility, and scoring touch were well-suited to an international style of hockey. So, he skated for Team Canada for the bulk to the 1985-86 campaign. He then joined the Blues for the playoffs of that year and picked up his first two NHL points.

The following season, he split his campaign between Team Canada and the Blues. Time spent in both camps seemed indicative of an absence of a defined role for Ronning with the Blues. He did have one strong season in 1988-89 when he netted 59 points in 79 games. Nonetheless, a year later, he left the NHL to play in Italy for a year.

Upon his return in 1990-91, he rejoined the Blues for a short time but was then traded to the Vancouver Canucks. Once his NHL season came to an end, Ronning joined Canada's National Team at the 1991 World Championships.

Closer to home in Vancouver, Ronning's big-league career finally began to take shape. In his first three seasons with the club, he was able to wheel in an offensive mode. His numbers became predictably solid each year and he always kept his defensive game reigned in on a fairly tight string.
But Ronning, one of the shortest players to ever a dawn a Vancouver Canucks uniform, proved, that in hockey, skill can overcome size.

“The first thing coaches and scouts look at is the size of the kid,” says the 5’8 Ronning. “But if someone has talent, even if they are small, their skill will show. The cream will always rise to the top.”

Ronning toiled in the Blues’ organization for four years before being traded to the Canucks in 1991 as part of a multi-player deal.

In Vancouver, Ronning’s star did rise to the top. He became an offensive force with the Canucks and was an integral part of the ’94 playoff run. After six seasons, 1,137 games, and 869 points with the Canucks, he left Vancouver in 1996 and played for 5 different teams before retiring in 2006.,wp6220
As you know, we're old-school NHL video game obsessed here on Puck Daddy, worshiping at the simple altars of "Nintendo Ice Hockey", "Blades of Steel" and, of course, the EA Sports NHL series that captivated a generation (and co-starred in "Swingers").

Sometimes in these games, certain players would inexplicably be better in PixelWorld than in real life. Ronning was one of those players for the Vancouver Canucks in NHL '93: Skating around like a water-bug on speed and with an overall rating in the Pavel Bure neighborhood. In a word, he was awesome.

Last edited by DaveG: 09-08-2012 at 12:25 PM.
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