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Countdown to Coyotes Preseason: 51 days

Andy Miele wasn't the first small guy to attempt to play forward for the Coyotes.
Andy Miele wasn't the first small guy to attempt to play forward for the Coyotes.


With only 51 days until the Phoenix Coyotes take the ice against an opponent again, we take a look at how the number played a role in the team's inaugural season in the Valley of the Sun. In 1996-1997, the Coyotes were the hot new thing in town. While the marquee names on the team were Teppo Numminen, Jeremy Roenick, and Keith Tkachuk, who have since been entered into the team's Ring of Honor there was another player on the team who was a bit of a fan favorite as well.

Cliff Ronning was signed by new Coyotes GM Bobby Smith prior to the 1996-1997 season. The Burnaby, B.C. native was already an NHL veteran having started his NHL career in 1986 with the team who drafted him, the St. Louis Blues. Before coming to the Coyotes he had played six seasons for the Vancouver Canucks. Ronning was listed at only 5 feet 8 inches tall. However, he played like a much bigger player. The undersized forward pocketed 51 points in his first regular season wearing a Desert Dogs sweater.