Skip to main content

Jim Camazzola

Jim Camazzola and Cliff Ronning's hockey career kept crossing paths. While Ronning went on to a popular long time NHLer, Camazzola only played in three NHL games.

With both being born in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, Camazzola and Ronning played with and against each other all through youth hockey. They arrived on the hockey radar in 1980-81 when the played together for the famed Burnaby Winter Club.

From there both buddies went on to the Western Hockey League. Camazzola moved north to play first with the Penticton Knights and then with the Kamloops Oilers, where he found great chemistry with another undersized BC hockey legend in Dean Evason.

Ronning, meanwhile, was lighting up the WHL with the New Westminster Bruins. Camazzola would join Ronning in New West in 1984-85.

Despite both players putting up some impressive offensive numbers, neither player ranked high with NHL scouts. Ronning, because of his size, wasn't even drafted until 1984, and even then he went 134th overall by St. Louis. Camazzola went two years earlier, 196th overall to Chicago.

Camazzola turned pro in 1985 and struggled in three seasons in the minor leagues, though he did get called up to Chicago for three games. He played one season in the Boston Bruins organization but never played with the Bruins.

By 1988 Camazzola opted to go over to Italy where his family originated from. He would play in Europe until 2002, with a few seasons also in Germany late in his career. Camazzola's highlight was securing his Italian citizenship which allowed him to play for Team Italy at the 1992 and 1994 Olympic games.

In 1989 Ronning followed Camazzola to Italy, playing with him for Asiago. It was an unlikely route back to the NHL for Ronning, but he went over and dominated with 74 goals and 135 points in just 42 games! With numbers like that he returned to the NHL and starred for years.

Camazzola never did get another shot at the NHL, but he never regretted his long European career. He did return to Burnaby eventually and became a hockey coach at Simon Fraser University.

Jim's brother Tony Camazzola also played three games in the National Hockey League - all with Washington in the 1981-82 season. He continued to toil in the minor leagues and never followed Jim to Europe.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M