Ranford celebrates Stanley Cup victory
Sometime this summer the Stanley Cup will visit New Westminster, likely just to drop around for a nice family backyard barbecue.
As goaltending coach of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, Bill Ranford will get to spend a day with hockey’s holy grail. He intends to spend that day letting Stanley get acquainted with his family as a reward to them for all the time he’s spent away from his home just a slapshot from his old hockey home at Queen’s Park Arena where he played for the New Westminster Bruins. The part-time job has meant he’s missed singing and acting performances of older daughter Cassady and younger daughter Tristan’s lacrosse games.
“It’s tough being away from my family as much as I am. From the two weeks left to go in the season to when we won the Cup I’ve been home four days,” said Ranford on Wednesday as he awaited the arrival of his wife Kelly and two daughters in L.A. to participate in the parade. “It makes it bittersweet to finally win and be part of it. It means a lot to me to have them with me and to experience all the festivities tomorrow.”
Allowing all members of the Stanley Cup-winning team to spend a day with the cup is a National Hockey League tradition. Players get the priority, Ranford said, but since the tradition wasn’t in place when he won the Cup as goalie with the 1988 and 1990 Edmonton Oilers, he’s looking forward to finally getting his time with it.
Although it’s hard for many in Greater Vancouver to be Kings fans, Ranford said the New Westminster community has been tremendously supportive.
During all the hoopla following the Kings’ 6-1 victory to clinch the Cup on Monday, a special moment came when Ranford got together for a picture with his protege, Jonathan Quick, Kings assistant general manager Ron Hextall and the Conn Smythe Trophy won by Quick for being the playoffs’ most valuable player. It’s an award Ranford won in 1990 and Hextall in 1987, when his Philadelphia Flyers lost to Edmonton. Monday night was the first time both Ranford and Hextall had seen their names on the trophy.
“It was real neat,” he said.
This was Ranford’s sixth season with the Kings. The last couple of years, Los Angeles has been considered an up-and-coming squad but barely squeaked into the playoffs. This year the team ran roughshod over the Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes en route to the Stanley Cup final.
“There was the expectation to be a much more competitive team in the regular season. We had our scoring woes, and basically had to claw our way in just to make the playoffs. and once we got there we started to peak at the right time,” said Ranford.
Despite the struggles, the one thing that was steady all year long was Quick, who has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender. Ranford is modest about his role in turning Quick into one of the NHL’s netminding elite.
“It’s my job to keep him ready but he had just an incredible year.”