Big opportunity for little Ronning at Top Prospects Game

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Tyler Benson’s loss is Ty Ronning’s gain, as the two Vancouver Giants have very different fortunes heading into Thursday’s Top Prospects Game at the Pacific Coliseum.

Image: BMO CHL Top Prospects

SEE ALSO: 40 best CHL players come to Vancouver for Top Prospects Game

Benson, ranked 21st by NHL Central Scouting, was the poster boy for the event and was set to captain Team Cherry. Instead, he will miss the game due to a lower-body injury.

In his place is the 82nd ranked Ty Ronning, son of former Vancouver Canucks centre Cliff Ronning. He will play for Team Cherry.

Back in the Coliseum and asked about Ty’s dad, it didn’t take much to prodding to get Cherry to take a trip down memory lane, offering up this gem:

“I must have done Hockey Night in Canada and said something bad about Cliff… So I’m walking out of here and his wife is waiting here, and she’s just ripping me to shreds. I turned to her and said ‘listen if he had as much balls as you, he’d be a good hockey player!’ It didn’t go over well I’ll tell ya.”

“I haven’t heard the story, but my mom is Italian and she’s got a little temper, I could see her doing that” said Ronning.

It was not a day for political correctness at the rink on Renfrew.

On Ronning’s chances: “I hope he has the good bloodlines of his dad”, Cherry said.

Though it took an injury for him to get here, Ronning wasn’t selected because of his last name. The 18-year-old Burnaby native has 41 points in 44 games this year with the Giants.

Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr concurred: “He’s a skilled player and he’s here for a reason, because he belongs. Sometimes it’s these late additions that end up being the player of the game because with all the buildup here, he’s just been thrown into the mix here, he’s just going to go out and play his game.”

The last time Vancouver hosted this event in 2005, Giants’ star Gilbert Brule scored a hat trick, so who knows?

Ty had all the right things to say when he spoke to the media on Wednesday: “This is a great opportunity and I’m just going to try and take full advantage of it. Every game is a prospects game. There’s always going to be scouts, but I guess this time there’s going to be 700 of them, so it’s a challenge and I’m looking forward to it.”

Ty Ronning of @whlgiants taking part in fitness testing at #BMOTP

A video posted by bbatch1040 (@bbatch1040) on

Scouting has evolved over the years. When Cliff Ronning was breaking into the NHL, he had to overcome a lot of hurdles because of his small stature. The 5’8″, 170-pound centre scored 136 points in 71 games with the New Westminster Bruins in his draft year, but wasn’t selected until the 7th round of the 1984 Draft by the St. Louis Blues.

Ty is of a similar stature to his dad, 5’9″, 165-pounds, but that’s not the hinderance for teams like it used to be.

“There’s less emphasis on size, more emphasis on skills and hockey sense, and compete-level” said Marr. “The game’s evolved since the rules changed. You’re good or you’re not good. You can skate or you can’t skate.”

Ty can certainly skate and we’ll see how he does in the game on Thursday and how it will affect his draft stock in June.

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Rob Williams Sports Editor at Vancity Buzz covering all sports in Vancouver.
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