Ed Ronan was a below-the-radar guy for most of his young career.
Some North Andoverites figured he should be satisfied with a Division 3 college career. But Ronan parlayed a strong work ethic and a rare perseverance all the way to the NHL. If you ever get a chance to see the Stanley Cup, you’ll see his name on it as a player for the 1993 Montreal Canadiens.
“Nothing in hockey compares to that,” said Ronan, 45, from his home in Franklin, Mass. “We were in the rink all night with my family because there were riots outside. It’s once in a lifetime to carry the Cup around the rink.”
Ronan often took a back seat to the who’s who of hockey talent on the Habs but he made a couple big plays in the playoffs.
Quebec led Montreal 2-1 after three games of the Divisional semifinals. Ronan made his first appearance in Game 4 and scored the first goal of the game, jumpstarting the club.
Then in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. the L.A. Kings and Wayne Gretzky, the Great One accidentally tipped a Ronan pass into the net and Ronan got credit for the goal.
But he might have been most proud of a play in the Adams Division final vs. the Sabres. The fourth-line forward dove to prevent an icing, crashing into the boards. That hustling play led to Guy Carbonneau’s winning goal in OT.
“That was my skill. I worked hard,” said Ronan.
This summer there was a 20th reunion in Toronto. Ronan is still friendly with ex-teammates Mike Keane, Kirk Muller and Brian Bellows.
A two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star at North Andover High, Ronan did a post-grad year at Phillips Academy and that year was drafted in the 11th round by the Canadiens. The original plan was to play at Princeton, but then he thought it would be just too expensive.