Former Vancouver Canucks centre Cliff Ronning has joined Powell River Kings as an assistant coach.
A member of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, Ronning played in 1,137 games in the National Hockey League during an 18-year NHL career. His professional experience included six seasons with the Canucks, including a run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1994, which they lost to current Kings’ head coach Glenn Anderson and the New York Rangers, four games to three.
Kings president Stephan Seeger said the addition of Ronning has been in the works for some time.
“Cliff came on scene in December as a guest skills coach; the players loved his energy and Glenn and Cliff worked in hockey lockstep like I’ve never seen before,” added Seeger. “The opportunity presented and I began serious discussions about an increased presence and role for Cliff immediately. Glenn was certainly a catalyst in the convincing but I think Powell River’s small market charm and the warm welcome sealed the deal.”
After juggling his other commitments, an agreement with Ronning was reached after road games last weekend.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to learn and grow with yet another professional role model under whose tutelage our players can develop,” stated Seeger. “I can’t imagine a better bench addition as we approach a playoff run with a very exciting, newly fortified roster. Cliff is the consummate gentleman, a real statesman of the game, and our players will benefit immensely by what he can teach about hockey both on and off ice; we are truly lucky to have him here in Powell River."
Ronning made his first appearance on the Kings’ bench last weekend on their Vancouver Island road trip. He will make his Hap Parker Arena debut this weekend when the Kings host Langley Rivermen in a critical two-game home stand.
“Not many aspiring coaches get to surround themselves with the knowledge, experience and accolades of Glenn Anderson and Cliff Ronning,” stated associate coach Dwight Lee. “I am very fortunate to be in that position. As a young kid growing up in BC, Cliff was a player that I really admired. I am thrilled to get to work alongside and learn from him.”
New Powell River Kings Hockey Club Society president Shaun Garvey echoed the excitement.
“I’ve only been in this position for a couple of months now and what I’ve seen over that time is a consistent commitment by management to surround our players with high quality coaches and former NHL players whose experience, knowledge and unwavering focus on player development is inspiring,” stated Garvey. “This is an exciting time to be a Powell River King and a Kings fan.”
The two former NHLers remain focused on the task at hand. Powell River is four points behind Langley for the eighth and final playoff spot in BC Hockey League Coastal Conference standings, with two games in hand.
“This game has given me a lot and I am happy to give back by contributing to player development at the junior level,” stated Ronning. “I have experienced a warm community welcome here in Powell River and I’m sincerely touched by that; now it’s time to go to work and make playoffs. Nothing like playoff hockey."
Anderson said he couldn’t be happier to have Cliff’s energy and experience in the middle of a rebuild.
“He’s an unmatched competitor and a winner,” stated Anderson. “Just what we need in the stretch here.”
Kings host the Rivermen in BC Hockey League (BCHL) action on Friday, February 9, and Saturday, February 10. Both games start at 7 pm.
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