Sunday Snippet: Cliff Ronning

“Even though I was always one of the smallest kids on my hockey team growing up, I never stopped dreaming about playing in the NHL, so having the ability to live out that dream was unbelievable. I certainly hope that kids who are also small in stature but not in heart will look at me and other similar players and know that their dream can come true through hard work and dedication to the game.”

Here we are. The Presidents Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks have largely lived up to expectations and they are now here ready to enter the Stanley Cup Finals. The last time they did this was way back in the 1993-1994 season and one of the biggest stars at the time, figuratively speaking, was none other than Cliff Ronning.

Despite being physically smaller than most other professional hockey players, Ronning was the third leading scorer for the Canucks during the 1993-94 regular season and the fifth highest during the playoffs. This is in addition to his terrific leadership skills and other contributions he made to the team. This just goes to show you that you can overcome any obstacle if you believe in yourself.

I’m sure Cliff experienced his fair share of doubters along the way. I’m sure coaches and teammates were skeptical, because hockey is such a physical sport. Even so, the Vancouver centre made a big impact, just as other smaller players — like Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis — play important roles on their respective teams.

Sure, Trevor Linden may have been the captain, Kirk McLean may have stood on his head, and Pavel Bure may have excited the crowds, but Cliff Ronning was positively integral to the Canucks’ 1994 Stanley Cup run. On this year’s team, you could look to other major contributors like Kevin Bieksa and Mason Raymond who may not get the same kind of attention as Luongo and the Sedins. They’re important too.

If you like more contemporary quotes, be sure to check out the Sunday Snippet posts that I wrote on Ryan Kesler and Alain Vigneault too. This is going to be an exciting couple of weeks. History will be made.