It was a very special weekend for the Los Angeles Kings family.
While Nick Nickson was being enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, another member of the organization was getting inducted into another Hall. On Saturday, KIngs’ goaltending coach Bill Ranford was being given his due in his home province as on Saturday, he was officially inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
“It was a special honor to be inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame,” Ranford recently told me. “The night was very special due to the fact that my mom and dad, two sisters and my wife were all able to attend.”
Of course, while Ranford has been with the Los Angeles Kings since 2006, his recognition for the Manitoba Sports Hall reflects on his playing career which, unfortunately for the silver-and-black, saw the former netminder oppose — and thwart — the Kings in the early-90’s when his Edmonton Oilers‘ rivalry with the club was at its peak.
A native of Brandon, Manitoba, Ranford was drafted 52nd overall by the Boston Bruins in 1985. From there, he would go on to play 647 career games spanning 15 NHL seasons while winning two Stanley Cups with the Oilers in 1988 and 1990. Ranford would win the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP in the latter postseason.
Last October, I had a chance to speak with the Kings’ goaltending coach on his playoff performance in 1990 that ultimately won him the Conn Smythe.
“Once we got rolling, we couldn’t be stopped,” Ranford told me then. “The Bruins series (the Stanley Cup Final) was special because they drafted me out of junior hockey and then traded me away to Edmonton.
“By that point, we were a team that was determined to win a fifth Stanley Cup.”
In addition to his contributions as an NHL netminder, Bill Ranford was a force between the pipes on the international stage as well. This was particularly the case in 1991 when he backstopped Canada to a Canada Cup title — the last time the award was handed out before being rechristened the World Cup of Hockey.
Over the course of his playing career, Ranford would celebrate two separate stints with both the Bruins and Oilers while also suiting up for the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.
As successful as his playing career was, Bill Ranford has enjoyed just as much, if not more, success in his post-playing days as he was instrumental in helping the Los Angeles Kings win two Stanley Cups, being largely responsible for the development of such starting netminders as Jonathan Bernier, Martin Jones and, of course, Jonathan Quick.
Here’s to a playing career that saw him rack up 240 NHL wins, two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe, a Canada Cup and an IIHF World Championship crown in 1994. Here’s to Bill Ranford.