Ranford to reach milestone
“It’s crazy to think that I’ve been here for five years. It’s gone by so fast. I can still remember playing my first game when I was 15. The fans were loud and it was my first experience playing in front of a huge crowd and it was a lot of fun. I love it here.”
Brendan Ranford will play his 342nd game in a Kamloops Blazers’ uniform this weekend, passing former teammate C.J. Stretch to occupy the No. 1 spot on the all-time list.
“Me and C.J. used to live together [with billets Archie and Maureen Houchen] when I was 16 and he was 19, and I was here when he broke the record,” Ranford said.
“It’s pretty funny that, four or five years later, I’m going to break his record.”
Ranford, should he remain healthy, will pass Stretch on Saturday, March 2, when the Vancouver Giants invade Interior Savings Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.
The 20-year-old from Edmonton has accomplished a lot during his time with the Blue and Orange.
Here are some of the Blazer records Ranford holds: Seventh in all-time scoring with 343 points, six back of Hnat Domenichelli; 10th player to reach 300-plus points; seventh to reach 200-plus assists; 10th in goals with 133; and No. 19 is the first Blazer with three-consecutive 70-point seasons since Darcy Tucker.
(Vancouver and Kamloops played after KTW’s press deadline on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Log on to kamloopsthisweek.com to see if Ranford and the Blazers worked their way up the standings.)
Ranford is most proud of the points statistic — “If I get above 350, I’ll be sixth all-time in Blazer scoring and that’s a pretty impressive stat, with how many legendary players that have come through here,” he said — but he would trade personal triumph in for a title in a heartbeat.
“The biggest thing would be to bring back a championship here as a Blazer, to win as a team and to be remembered for that.”
The going has been tough at times for Ranford during his tenure in Kamloops.
In March 2011, he was suspended six games for cross-checking an official and Ranford’s fitness came into question earlier in his career.
Those mistakes, he said, were part of a learning process.
“You definitely have regrets, but you learn from those things and you move on as a person,” Ranford said.
“I think I’m not the person I am today without those things that I did do. I think I’m a better man and a good leader for this team.”
Blazer head coach Guy Charron has paid close attention to Ranford’s development on and off the ice.
“It’s always rewarding when you have an opportunity to work with someone for a number of years and see the transition as a player and also as a person,” said Charron, who has coached Ranford since November 2009.
“You’ve got to grow into a certain identity and a certain player and I think he’s developed to be that.”
Blazer public-address announcer Bill O’Donovan will likely make mention of Ranford’s feat at Saturday’s game, the crowd will show its appreciation and play will resume.
“I don’t think I’ll be emotional,” Ranford said.
“I think it’s just a good accomplishment that I’ve had, to play that many games and to play with a historic franchise like the Kamloops Blazers.
“I’m not sure, though, maybe I’ll shed a few tears, but we’ve got a game to play, so . . .”