Old Guys Scrimmage, Little Guy Shines
It has become a tradition at Rogers Arena: two squads of Canuck Alumni take to the ice as the warm-up act for the Vancouver Canucks Super Skills "Big Show." While both rosters were full of familiar names it was the little guy, Cliff Ronning, who turned out to be the big star of the event.
Keeping with the spirit of the event few paid close attention to the scoreboard (some pundits have pegged the final tally at 6-2 for Team White) but despite that it was clear that the real on-ice hero was the skater wearing that all-too-familiar number 7, Cliff Ronning. Ronning scored a hat-trick and then some, figuring prominently in the rest of the scoring for Team White. His teammates from bygone years included fellow forwards Darcy Rota, Garry Monahan and retired netminder Kirk McLean, while the victorious defensive core included such memorable ex-Canuck names as Garth Butcher, Bob Murray and former first-round Maple Leaf draft pick, Gary Nylund. The winning goaltender of record was none other than brightly-decorated Canucks broadcaster John Garrett, sporting his Hallowe'en-coloured "V" jersey and mask to match.
Speaking of broadcasters, Team Blue dressed Sportsnet's Garry Valk and Team Radio's Dave Tomlinson - both former professional players - along with retired Canucks Greg C. Adams, Doug Bodger and Jeff Oddfleifson, son of 1980's Canuck Captain, Chris.
Some big names were back of the bench as well, led by the Supervising Coach, original team captain, and one-time Canuck Coach Orland Kurtenbach. His coaching contingent for the scrimmage featured record-setting ex-Canuck defenceman Dennis Kearns and another of the original, 1970 NHL Canucks, Ed Hatoum.
While the score may have been forgettable, the game itself was anything but, providing the perfect start to everyone’s favorite yearly tradition, Superskills!