Ron Greschner

It's hard to believe a kid from tiny Goodsoil, Saskatchewan, population of 200-plus, would become the toast of Manhattan.

That's exactly what Ron Greschner did. The son of a hotelier, the only hotel in the tiny farming community, Greschner not only went to become a popular hero of Manhattan, but married supermodel Carol Alt, owned trendy restaurants, guest-starred on TV shows Ryan's Hope and The Nanny and was a judge at a Miss Universe contest.

Manhattan's Finest

Gresch was a big but mobile defenseman who was playing against senior players aged 20 and over when he was just 12 years old. By 1974 he was an established WHL star out of New Westminster, and was drafted 32nd overall in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft. He quickly established himself as a NHL star blessed with size and skating. He would run the Rangers power play in the era between Brad Park and Brian Leetch.

He lacked the polish of those two legends, which holds him back in history's eyes. But those who played with him disagree.

"I mean no disrespect to guys like Brian Leetch and Mike Richter," said Tom Laidlaw, a former defensive partner, "but playing his whole career there, doing the things he did and the points he put up, Greschner belong in the same category as them. He was a quiet leader but definitely proud to be a Ranger."

Lack of team success never helped either. Outside of an unexpected Stanley Cup finals appearance in 1979, the Rangers never really challenged for much in Greschner's days. Had the Rangers been a true top team during Greschner's time, his status may very well have landed him as a Hockey Hall of Famer.

New York loved Ron Greschner, and Ron Greschner loved New York equally in return. "There is no other city. The rest of the world is a suburb," he would say.

The Natural

"He was probably one of the most naturally talented guys we had and also the most likeable guy you would ever want to meet," said long time teammate Pat Hickey.

A hockey natural is a great way to describe him. He was a super stickhandler with a good shot. He was big and aggressive, though not necessarily strong or punishing. He was a smart skater, gifted in his balance and lateral mobility, although he lacked speed. His ice savvy was his biggest asset, able to read plays developing from either end of the ice and to be in the right spot at the right time.

In 982 career games, all with the Rangers, Ron Greschner scored 179 goals, 431 assists and 610 points. In 84 post season contests he added 17 goals and 49 points.


Jerrry Senior 6:22 PM  

GRESCH! I talk about him all the time! I remember a game where he had several teeth knocked out on the ice. They took him to the locker room, sewed up his jaw, stitched him up and then he returned to the ice within half an hour. NOW THAT'S COMMITMENT!

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