A pair of Western Hockey League Alumni were recognized last week for their contributions to sport in their home province, serving as part of the Class of 2018 for the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
Former New Westminster Bruins forward Cliff Ronning and WHL Official Rob Shick were recognized by the organization at their Induction Gala on Thursday, May 31 in the Lower Mainland.
Born in Burnaby, B.C., Ronning’s career began with the New Westminster Royals, but blossomed to a new level with the Bruins. Joining the Bruins for the 1983-84 season, Ronning tallied 136 points (69G-67A) in only 71 games. In the 1984-85 campaign, his production increased to 197 points (89G-108A) in 70 games.
Ronning also appeared in 20 WHL Playoff games between the two seasons, recording 45 points (18G-27A).
Selected as the recipient of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL Rookie of the Year in the 1983-84 season, Ronning’s second season in the WHL featured more honours and recognition.
His 197-point performance made him the Top scorer in the WHL while he also captured the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the WHL Player of the Year. He was also named as the recipient of the Brad Hornug Trophy as the WHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.
Ronning’s offensive flair caught the eye of the St. Louis Blues, who selected him in the seventh round, 134th overall, of the 1984 National Hockey League Draft. He’d go on to play 19 NHL seasons, spending time with the Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, and New York Islanders. In 1,1137 games, Ronning tallied 869 points (306G-563A).
Also inducted was former WHL Official Rob Shick, who refereed with the league between 1979-80 and 1983-84. Shick worked the 1983 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Portland, Ore. before graduating to the NHL ranks.
Over a 25-year career in the NHL, Shick worked 1,321 regular season games between 1984 and 2009, to date the most of any official from the province of British Columbia. Shick also skated in 130 NHL playoff games, including the 2001 Stanley Cup Final.
In October 1997, Shick was part of the officiating crew for the first NHL regular season game player outside of North America, played in Tokyo, Japan.
He was previously inducted to the BC Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 and presently serves as an NHL Referee Supervisor.