In 1985, Cliff Ronning was showered with accolades as he wrapped up his two-year career with the New Westminster Bruins of the WHL winning the league scoring, voted the WHL’s MVP and selected as a First-Team All-Star. Picked by St.Louis Blues in the 6th round, Cliff’s flashy style, mobility, and scoring touch were well suited to the international style of hockey. So, he skated for Team Canada for the bulk of the 1985-86 campaign, joining the Blues for the playoffs of that year picking up his first NHL points.
The following season, he split his campaign between Team Canada and the Blues, which seemed indicative of an absence of a defined role 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 for Italy for a year. Upon his return in 1990-91, he rejoined the Blues for a short time but was traded to the Vancouver Canucks. Once the season was completed, Ronning joined Canada’s National Team at the 1991 World Championships.
Ronning’s big-league career finally began to take shape as being home in Vancouver. In his first three seasons with the club, he was able to flourish 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.
In 1996, at age 31, Cliff became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. Lasting just over two seasons in the desert before being traded to the fledgling Nashville Predators. Ronning’s veteran presence and consistent scoring punch helped prevent the Predators from being an expansion doormat.
After parts of four seasons in Nashville, Ronning was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings in the final months of the 2001-02 season playing only in 14 games. The Kings dealt him in the summer of 2002 to the Minnesota Wild and during the 2002-03 season he surpassed the 800 point plateau and was a key player in Minnesota’s run in the 2003 post season. In 2003-04, Cliff signed as a free agent with the New York Islanders appearing in 40 games with the club putting up decent numbers. The following year 2004-05 was the lock out year, and Cliff Ronning announced his retirement from the NHL on February 15, 2006.
Awards: BCJHL…. Coastal Division First All-Star Team (1983) WHL…. Rookie of the Year (1984) WHL…. First All-Star Team, Player of the Year (1985) 1983-84 New Westminster Bruins.