Paul Ranger: My minor squirts Speedy Auto Glass team
The Whitby, Ont., native was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2002. A defenseman, Ranger notched a career-high 31 points for the Lightning during the 2007-2008 NHL season, with 10 goals and 21 assists.
CBC Sports: How did you get into hockey?
Ranger: "How did I get into hockey, I mean, almost as soon as I could walk, I think, my dad took me out on skates and you know, public skating and stuff. Hockey was the sport in my town, you know, Whitby, Ontario, everybody plays hockey there. I had a backyard rink growing up for about 10 or 11 years, so we were out there every day after school, me and my buddies, always playing and having fun, and that’s what drove me to become a pro.
CBC Sports: What was the first game you can remember playing?
Ranger: "My first pro game or regular, any game? The first memory I have is being in minor squirts. We were Speedy Auto Glass and we were playing the red team, Canadian Tire. It was the finals of the league. It was a two game series and I think we lost 10-8, 10-9 or something."
CBC Sports: Who was your funniest teammate, and why?
Ranger: "Oh man there’s a lot of funny teammates. As a youngster growing up, I had a lot of my friends were funny guys. You’re not going to know any of the names but right now, Andre Roy, plays for Calgary now, he was a really funny guy. Ryan Malone is a pretty funny guy and there’s a lot of funny guys around the rink."
CBC Sports: Where was the most memorable tournament you ever played, and why?
Ranger: "I think it was the all-Ontario championships. That was probably the most exciting tournament I guess. Obviously the most exciting thing is playing in the NHL, by far. But there’s some tournaments I wish I could have played in you know the OHL tournament and world juniors but those opportunities didn’t arise, but you know, I mean we went to the all Ontarios in minor atom and major atom, two years in a row. That was exciting."
CBC Sports: Where was the worst arena you’ve ever played at? What was it like?
Ranger: "The worst arena? Oh geez. The worst arena I think is…why wouldn’t you ask what the best arena is? The worst arena I’d say, oh man, oh actually, we played minor hockey around here it’s called Art Thompson Arena. Have you been there? That place is a little old and dark. It’s bad. They’ve got good ice there though."
CBC Sports: Where was the coldest game of hockey you ever played? Describe it.
Ranger: "Coldest game I ever played was probably new years eve, my backyard, I think I was about 10 or 11 years old, it was like minus 28 or something outside. We played til like 1 in the morning (ha). Oh ya toques, triple socks. After the game we’d come in and drink hot chocolate. We always had the hot chocolate going after those games."
CBC Sports: Who was the most memorable hockey parent you ever met? Why?
Ranger: "Hockey parent? Hmm, that’s an interesting question. Other than my parents, I mean my parents supported me the whole way, they were awesome. They never pushed me they just wanted me to have fun, which is awesome.
"I’d say the most memorable hockey parent, it’s hard to say, there were a lot of memorable hockey parents growing up, especially the moms in minor hockey….friends of my mothers. They were awesome, always cheering for us, loudest people in the rink. All the ladies were and then all the dads just kind of hung out together. They’d cheer too but they were a little more quiet."