According to Ty Ronning, size doesn't matter. In fact, it doesn't matter whether you're 6-foot-5 or 5-foot-6. Success is all about working hard
"I think whatever size you are or how much you weigh, you always have to prove yourself no matter what in whatever it is," Ronning told NYRangers.com earlier this week. "Show that you're a good player and show that you work your butt off and show you can do good things on the ice."
Ronning, the Rangers' 2016 seventh-round draft choice, stands 5-foot-9 and weighs about 170 pounds. But the Vancouver-native said that's never held him back, and a big reason for that is the success his father, Cliff - who stands just 5-foot-8 - had in the NHL.
The elder Ronning, who played 1,137 games in the NHL, has instilled a level of work ethic that has propelled the younger Ronning to a great career in the Western Hockey League and one he hopes will someday bring him to Broadway.
"My dad is one of my biggest role models and the thing he always says to me is hard work pays off," said Ronning, who has five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 12 games with the Giants this season. "He's taught me what's coming up and I can see where I need to be at when I'm playing. He sees what I do wrong."
The 19-year-old spent a little time with the Rangers in main camp but - not unsurprisingly based on his age - did not play in an exhibition game. Rather, the team sent him back to his junior squad to play big minutes. But the Rangers did leave him with some advice for the upcoming season with the Giants.
"They said we want you to be quicker and faster," Ronning said of the direction he was given. "I think the biggest thing is that it starts with my legs and getting stronger in my lower body."
"He is a quick player with a very good sense for the net," said Rangers Amateur Scout Kim Gellert. "He has good hockey smarts, which allows him to get to the scoring areas on the ice. He plays with no fear and will be the first player hustling to recover loose pucks."
Ronning said while he's been around NHLers his entire life due to his dad, being able to spend some time skating with them at a pro training camp was an eye-opening and educational experience.
"It's really cool when you meet people like Rick Nash and [Henrik] Lundqvist and [Mats] Zuccarello. That was pretty neat," Ronning said. "I remember sitting down and grabbing some breakfast and Rick Nash is sitting there.
"Your eyes are open and you're on the ice with NHLers," Ronning added, "but I thought of it as I'm going to better myself with this opportunity."
The winger will represent the WHL next month when the Russian National Team makes it way through the Canadian Hockey League playing exhibition games against the three leagues, something Ronning said will greatly benefit him in his development.
"It's going to make me a better player knowing I'm going to be out there competing against the best of the best," Ronning said, before adding that it's a chance to "prove people wrong and do the best I can out there."
Ronning said his busy summer, that included the NHL Draft in June, prospect camp in July and the Traverse City Prospect Tournament that led right into Rangers Training Camp, were all motivating factors for him once he returned back to Vancouver to begin the WHL season. All that, though, was just the beginning.
"Your foot is in the door," he said. "When you get back, you want to work your butt off and get signed and get another door open. You can kind of see your dream come true. The foot is in the door. I'm just trying to push it open."