Fans of the Vancouver Giants have long known just how special Ty Ronning is on and off the ice.
And while the rest of the league may have known of Ronning’s on-ice exploits, they now are aware of his work away from the rink.
On Wednesday, Ronning was named the Western Hockey League’s Humanitarian of the Year.
He was presented the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy at the league’s awards banquet in Red Deer, Alta.
“It’s a huge honour to receive this award and to be recognized for all of the positive things that the Vancouver Giants have done in the community over the years,” Ronning said in a press release.
“Receiving this award is right up there with my for being drafted into the NHL.
“I’ve always tried to be the best person I could possibly be and whether it was signing an autograph, visiting classrooms and hospitals or just having a good conversation with our fans … to be nominated and to have received this award is awesome.”
Ronning becomes the tenth Giant to receive a WHL award but the first to win this particular honour.
“In all my years of working in junior hockey, I’ve met few guys like Ty who are just wired to do good things for the fans and the community,” said Dan O’Connor, the Giants director of media relations and the team’s play-by-play broadcaster.
“He doesn’t need prompting, he doesn’t need to be coached through much of anything. He is a self-starter who often times on his own time will go out of his way to do community work.”
Now aged out of junior hockey, Ronning has signed with the New York Rangers and will play in their organization next season. He leaves Langley with his name in the Giants record books after establishing a new single-season record with 61 goals, surpassing Evander Kane’s 48 goals.
Ronning was also a WHL second team all-star.
Ronning was one of two Vancouver players up for year-end awards as defenceman Bowen Byram was the Western Conference’s nominee for rookie of the year.
The award was won by Lethbridge Hurricanes’ centre Dylan Cozens.
Byram had three goals and 27 points in his 16-year-old season, playing in all situations for the Giants. He also represented Canada at the U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, registering one point in five games as Canada lost in the quarter-finals.