Cliff Ronning will always be remembered for his role in the Canucks' run to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, but the Canucks alumnus will always be best remembered for his elite skills in NHL '93 (actually, NHLPA Hockey 93, but whatever). The Canucks centre was always pretty good, but in the 1993 edition he was downright otherworldly, a threat from just about anywhere and consistently the fastest guy on the ice.
The secret: Ronning had a man on the inside. As he explained to Puck Daddy some time ago, Ronning went to school with the guy that founded EA Sports, so when it came time to make his digital version, Ronning wished for a skill level in the Pavel Bure range, and his wish was granted -- his friend made him absurdly, unforgettably good. And that's what makes this photo so awesome:
That's Ronning, at Saturday's Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer event in Vancouver, standing on a customized NHL chair mat, courtesy Dave Delisle of Dave's Geeky Ideas. (Dave's been featured on this blog a few times before. He's the best.)
Back in February, Dave shared his idea for the mat over on his blog, and I nearly flipped. I had to have one. And, because Dave is one of the world's coolest guys, he managed to make it a reality. And when he asked me if I wanted to customize my mat, I thought immediately of Ronning's legendary video game prowess, and asked for that.
Why Ronning? Why not Jeremy Roenick, say? Simple. So as to always feel like, when I'm working at my desk, I, like Cliff Ronning, am better than I have any business being.
Plus we live in the same city, which meant I might be able to one day get him to stand on it. And when I realized Ronning and I were going to be at the same charity event -- where he would try way harder than anybody else like he always does at these things, because you don't make the NHL at 5'7" if you're capable of letting up -- I had to reunite the man and the star that made him a video game legend.
He was kind enough to oblige, and while he didn't really get it, the crowd of people that stopped in their tracks upon witnessing one of the greatest photos in history definitely did.
Cliff Ronning, we salute you.