Being JR. The thought befuddles the most level-headed and rationale among us. Successful hockey player, turned commentator, with eyes on the prize of ownership. And last night, he was the honored man in a city known best for triple digit temperatures.
Roenick’s comments about wanting to own the club sent ripples of speculation through the press and other observers of the dysfunctional Coyotes ownership situation. The presence of a former player in the ownership group sounds like a little hair of the dog, considering how well the previous ownership, fronted by NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky fared.
But Roenick was a ‘yote and was so in the prime of his career. His first tour in Phoenix commenced with the relocation of the club from Winnipeg making him an original face of the franchise. That they made the postseason in those first four seasons added further to his legend. Below the fold, we’ll share some more of last night’s festivities and what made JR so special, not only in Phoenix but for the team that the Coyotes beat last night and where he began his career, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Roenick embodied that prototypical “power forward”. He could score and throw around his body with the best of them. For his career he averaged 0.89 points per game and 1.07 PIM per. In six seasons with Chicago he scored 267 goals playing with guys like Chris Chelios and Ed Belfour. Dealt to Phoenix as their big splash, he joined Keith Tkachuk as a dynamic one-two punch that carried the club to early successes.
Though he never scored 50 goals in a single season after leaving Chicago, in his Phoenix career he tallied 152 over 454 games and topped 100 PIM in every season except his swan song at 37. He led the team in scoring in the 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01 seasons. He was the spark for the club and joined Tkachuk and fellow teammate Teppo Numminen as the full-fledged Coyote members of the club’s Ring of Honor.
You can find video of the actual ceremony on the Phoenix Coyotes team website.