Skip to main content

Ron Chipperfield

Ron Chipperfield is probably best known for being the first NHL captain of the Edmonton Oilers. A veteran of 5 WHA seasons, the last two of which were with the Edmonton Oilers, Chipperfield had never played a game in the NHL and was only 25 years old when he was named the Oilers captain. He and Winnipeg's Lars-Erik Sjoberg - another WHA player merged with the NHL - are the only two players to make their NHL debut as team captains.

The players voted Chipperfield as captain with Lee Fogolin and BJ MacDonald as alternates. Coach/GM Glen Sather was very pleased with the selection, saying "Ron is mature, sensible and will lead by example"

Chipperfield, a junior scoring sensation out of Brandon, Manitoba, was an enthusiastic center who used his speed to dart around the ice and create plays. He was a good scorer at the WHA level, scoring over 30 goals 3 times and over 80 points twice.

In addition to leading by example, Chipperfield was expected to score at a consistent rate. If he did so, he would be taking a lot of pressure off of an 18 year old super rookie Wayne Gretzky. Chipperfield would center the second line and hopefully produce enough to attract some defensive care-taking on behalf of the other team, thus giving Gretzky just a little bit more room.

Gretzky went on to tie Marcel Dionne as the league's leading scorer with 137 points, but Chipperfield didn't help the kid out very much. He struggled throughout the first three months of his first NHL season. At one point he went 17 consecutive games without scoring a single point. By the trading deadline Ron had chipped in with 18 goals and 19 assists, but was one of the Oilers major disappointments of their first season.

Another disappointment was they play of their goaltenders, particularly Dave Dryden. So with those two gaping holes on their roster, Glen Sather went about to fix that. On March 11, 1980 Sather sent the team captain packing to the Quebec Nordiques in exchange for goaltender Ron Low. Low went on to a period of brief success with the Oilers.

Chipperfield played in just 16 more NHL contests. His head and heart might not have been in the right place at the time. He was traded away from Edmonton while on a leave of absence to see his dying mother. She passed away the day after the trade.

Chipperfield disappeared to play hockey professional in Italy. Chipperfield was quite the star in Italy, scoring 175 goals and 132 assists in just 84 games. He would coach and manage in Italy for several years after retiring.


Comments

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