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Chris Pronger

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Title: Chris Pronger  
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Subject: 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, 2005–06 Edmonton Oilers season, St. Louis Blues, Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Ice hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympics – Men's tournament
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Chris Pronger

Chris Pronger
Pronger with the Flyers in 2010.
Born (1974-10-10) October 10, 1974
Dryden, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 6 in (198 cm)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
NHL team
Former teams
Philadelphia Flyers
Hartford Whalers
St. Louis Blues
Edmonton Oilers
Anaheim Ducks
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 1993
Hartford Whalers
Playing career 1993–2011

Christopher Robert Pronger ( or ; born October 10, 1974) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who is currently under contract with the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL), but who has not played since November 2011 due to post-concussion syndrome related to three separate hits, also including being hit in the eye(s) by the blade of another player's stick; Pronger now suffers with vision impairment. Though he is not officially retired, Pronger is not expected to play again.[1] In October 2014, Chris Pronger signed a contract with the NHL to assist its Player Safety Division, although he is excused from any decisions directly affecting the Flyers, with whom he still remains under a player contract.

Originally selected 2nd overall by the Hartford Whalers in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Pronger has played for Hartford, the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, and Anaheim Ducks before being traded to the Flyers before the 2009–10 season, having also captained the Blues and Ducks during that time. He has appeared in the Stanley Cup finals with three different teams (Edmonton, Anaheim, and Philadelphia), winning the Cup with the Ducks in 2007. Pronger won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player for the 1999–2000 season and was the first defenceman to win the award since Bobby Orr in 1972. Pronger was also considered one of the NHL's dirtier players and has been suspended eight times.[2] A mainstay on Team Canada, Pronger won Olympic gold medals at Salt Lake City 2002 and Vancouver 2010 and is a member of the Triple Gold Club.

Playing career

Early years

Pronger was born in Dryden to Jim and Eila Pronger, an immigrant from Pori, Finland. Before entering the Junior ranks in Ontario he grew up playing minor hockey in his hometown. As a 15-year-old, he was identified through the Ontario U-17 program and signed with the Stratford Cullitons Jr. B (OHA) club for the 1990–91 season. One of his defence partners in Stratford was future NHLer Greg DeVries.

In May 1991, Pronger indicated he was going to join his older brother Sean at Bowling Green State University (NCAA) instead of opting for the OHL. Regardless of his pre-draft indications, Pronger was selected in the 6th round by the Peterborough Petes in the OHL Priority Selection. He subsequently reported to the Petes and played two years in the OHL before being selected in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.

After two outstanding seasons with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and because of being highly regarded for his rare combination of imposing size, speed, offensive skill (particularly on the power play) and physicality as a defenceman, Pronger was selected second overall by the Hartford Whalers in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, behind Alexandre Daigle, who made the infamous statement, "I'm glad I got drafted first, because no one remembers number two."[3]

Hartford Whalers

He made his debut in the 1993–94 NHL season, playing 81 games for the Whalers and earning a spot on the NHL All-Rookie Team. However, Pronger was one of multiple Whalers that season with off-ice issues, being one of six Whalers players arrested for a barroom brawl in Buffalo in late March (the brawl also involved a Whalers assistant coach), and then being arrested for drunk driving in Ohio three days after his rookie season ended, leading some to consider Pronger impatient and immature.[4] On his rookie season, then-teammate Kelly Chase noted, "You could see [Pronger] had talent, but it was a ho-hum thing. He really didn't have any direction. He was under a lot of pressure and just wasn't ready for the responsibility. Of course that team wasn't exactly overloaded with players who knew how to win" (the Whalers finished next-to-last in the Eastern Conference that season).[5] After a second season in Hartford, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues for star forward Brendan Shanahan on July 27, 1995.

St. Louis Blues

In the early years of his St. Louis career, Pronger played under coach and general manager Mike Keenan who insisted on Pronger improving his conditioning and reducing his mistakes. Late in his first season, the acquisition of Wayne Gretzky took pressure off of Pronger, which combined with Keenan's practices, allowed Pronger to concentrate on improving his defensive play.[5]

In his third season with St. Louis and first as team captain following the departure of Brett Hull as a free agent, Pronger was again named to the All-Star team. That year Pronger also had a brief cardiac arrest during the 1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he was hit in the chest with a puck in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.[6] Prior to this he played for the Canadian Olympic team in Nagano. In 1999–2000, Pronger recorded a career-high 62 points and a +52 rating. His efforts culminated in a Norris and Hart Trophy at the end of the season. Pronger beat Art Ross winner Jaromír Jágr by just one point in Hart Trophy voting, which was, at the time, the smallest margin of victory in the history of the award. (Two years later, Jarome Iginla and José Théodore tied in overall voting; Théodore won with more first-place votes.)[7] Pronger was also named to the First All-Star Team.

Pronger notched 47 points the next season, but appeared in only 51 games due to injury problems. In February 2002, he won a gold medal with the Canadian Olympic Team in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. That same year in the NHL, he had another fine season and played in the All-Star Game once again. But injuries became a problem again in 2002–03, limiting him to just five games played (during which time, Al MacInnis replaced him as captain). Pronger bounced back with another quality season in 2003–04 (when he re-assumed the captaincy after MacInnis suffered a career-ending injury). Following the 2004–05 NHL lockout and imposition of the NHL salary cap, the Blues traded Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers for defencemen Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka, and Doug Lynch. While the Blues needed to reduce team salaries to make it easier to sell the team, the Oilers were able to sign Pronger to a five-year, $31.25 million contract.

Edmonton Oilers

Pronger was selected to play for Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics, marking his third consecutive Olympic Games. The Oilers went to the Stanley Cup Final that same year. On June 5, 2006, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes, Pronger became the first player in NHL history to score a penalty shot goal in a Stanley Cup Final game. The Oilers lost in game seven, with Pronger scoring a team-leading 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists) in 24 games, as well as a team leading plus/minus rating of +10 during the playoffs.

On June 23, 2006, Pronger requested a trade through his agent, Pat Morris, from the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe said that the request was due to personal reasons,[8] while media outlets[9][10] reported that Pronger's wife, Lauren, was not happy in Edmonton. The controversy surrounding Pronger's trade request has led many to describe him as "Public Enemy No.1" in Edmonton.[11][12][13][14] On July 3, Pronger was traded to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Joffrey Lupul, defensive prospect Ladislav Šmíd, Anaheim's 2007 first-round draft pick (traded to the Phoenix Coyotes, picked Nick Ross), a conditional first-round draft pick (dependent on the Ducks reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in the next 3 years, which they did, becoming forward Jordan Eberle),[15] and Anaheim's 2008 second-round draft pick (later traded to the New York Islanders).

Anaheim Ducks

Chris Pronger with Anaheim.

In 2007, Pronger played an important role for the Ducks run as they reached the Stanley Cup Finals and later won the championship. It was also Pronger's second straight finals appearance. During the Conference Finals, Pronger was suspended for one game for a check on Detroit Red Wings winger Tomas Holmström.[16] He later criticized the Canadian media's coverage of the incident.[17] In the final round, Pronger was suspended for one game for elbowing Ottawa Senators winger Dean McAmmond in the head during game 3.[18] With the Stanley Cup victory he became a member of the Triple Gold Club.

On September 28, 2007, Pronger was named the captain of the Ducks, replacing Scott Niedermayer.[14][19] Although Niedermayer returned to the lineup later in the season, Pronger remained captain until the start of next season when Niedermayer was renamed captain. Pronger retained a role as alternate captain.

On March 12, 2008, Pronger was involved in an incident with Vancouver's Ryan Kesler. Pronger, after being tangled up with Kesler behind the Anaheim blue line, stomped unnecessarily on Kesler's leg. Kesler was not injured, and upon initial review the NHL did not suspend Pronger. However, upon new video evidence, which provided a better angle, the league once again reviewed the incident and gave Pronger an 8-game suspension. The suspension was criticized by some as insufficient, another player had received a 30 game suspension for a stomp, with some suggesting that the league gave preferential treatment towards Pronger as a league MVP and an "ambassador for the game".[20] He returned to the ice April 6 against the Phoenix Coyotes in Anaheim's last regular season game of the year.[21]

The 2008–09 season was quite successful for Pronger who played his 1000th career game on February 20, 2009. The Ducks would rally late in the season to jump into 8th place of the Western conference. They dispatched the President's Trophy winner San Jose Sharks in six games before falling to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games. Pronger had 2 goals and 8 assists in 13 playoff games.

Philadelphia Flyers

On June 27, 2009, Pronger, along with forward Ryan Dingle, was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Lupul (earlier traded to Edmonton for Pronger in 2006), defenceman Luca Sbisa, two first round draft picks and a conditional third round draft pick. Ten days later, Pronger signed a seven-year contract extension.[22] Nearly a month after signing, the NHL announced they had launched an investigation on Pronger's deal to determine whether it was a circumvention of the salary cap under the collective bargaining agreement. Because the contract is front-loaded, with annual salaries of just $525,000 in the final two years, and expires by the time Pronger is 42, the investigation was launched with the focus on the potential of negotiations between Pronger and the Flyers to retire before contract expiration.[23] However, as Pronger's contract took effect after his 35th birthday, under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, his over-35 contract cannot be deleted from the Flyers' cap space unless he is placed on long-term injured reserve, and even then it would come back on the team's cap space during the offseason.

On December 30, 2009, Pronger was selected to play for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He served as one of the team's alternate captains, along with Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla.[24] The team won the gold-medal that year. Pronger became the leader for most Olympic games played for Canada after playing his 25th Olympic game on February 28, 2010.

In the NHL regular season, the Flyers qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the season with a shootout win against the New York Rangers. A playoff run marked by an upset of the New Jersey Devils, a historic comeback against the Boston Bruins from down 0–3 in the series and a five-game win over the Montreal Canadiens culminated in the Flyers playing the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. Though the Flyers lost the series 4–2, Pronger had a strong playoff performance and led a team that traded for him to the Finals for the third time in a row. Conversely, no team that traded Pronger away qualified for the playoffs the following year.

Following the playoffs, Pronger underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.[25] Pronger missed the first two games of the 2010–11 season. Various other injuries would limit Pronger to just 50 games, marking the first time that Pronger missed significant time since the 2002–03 season, where Pronger missed 77 games. On September 16, 2011, Pronger was named the 18th captain in Philadelphia Flyers history, replacing Mike Richards, traded to the Los Angeles Kings just before the 2011 draft. However, multiple hits resulting in post-concussion syndrome (the last being a collision with Martin Hanzal, who like Pronger is 6'6") limited Pronger to 13 games before Pronger was shut down for the season in mid-December, with the post-concussion syndrome placing Pronger's career in jeopardy. Pronger also had problems in his right eye after being struck by the stick of Mikhail Grabovski in October 2011.[26]

With a resumption of his playing career looking unlikely, Pronger stepped down as team captain and was succeeded by Claude Giroux on January 15, 2013.[27] Pronger's contract runs through the 2016-17 season. He was 35 years old before the contract began, so the Flyers are on the hook for the $4.9 million cost against the salary cap each season, though they have been able to receive relief by placing Pronger on long-term injured reserve at the start of each season. Had Pronger retired officially, the Flyers would lose that ability and his contract would count fully against the cap, furthermore he would not receive the rest of the salary owed to him from the contract which was $12.15 million at the start of the 2013-14 season. [28] While no longer an on-ice player, Pronger still remains with the Flyers at the management level helping to scout and interview prospects.[29]

Personal life

He and his wife Lauren have two sons, Jack Hunter (born 2001) and George William (born 2004), and one daughter, Lilah Marie, who was born on July 23, 2008.[30][31] He lived in Irvine, California, while playing for the Anaheim Ducks.[32] Pronger resided in Haddonfield, New Jersey, while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. In the 2012-2013 season, with prospects for playing again unlikely, Pronger moved back to St. Louis. He appears on the cover of NHL Hitz 2003 and NHL 2000.


Pronger playing at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Pronger pictured in 2007 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks.


Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1991–92 Peterborough Petes OHL 63 17 45 62 90 10 1 8 9 28
1992–93 Peterborough Petes OHL 61 15 62 77 108 21 15 25 40 51
1993–94 Hartford Whalers NHL 81 5 25 30 113
1994–95 Hartford Whalers NHL 43 5 9 14 54
1995–96 St. Louis Blues NHL 78 7 18 25 110 13 1 5 6 16
1996–97 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 11 24 35 143 6 1 1 2 22
1997–98 St. Louis Blues NHL 81 9 27 36 180 10 1 9 10 26
1998–99 St. Louis Blues NHL 67 13 33 46 113 13 1 4 5 28
1999–00 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 14 48 62 92 7 3 4 7 32
2000–01 St. Louis Blues NHL 51 8 39 47 75 15 1 7 8 32
2001–02 St. Louis Blues NHL 78 7 40 47 120 9 1 7 8 24
2002–03 St. Louis Blues NHL 5 1 3 4 10 7 1 3 4 14
2003–04 St. Louis Blues NHL 80 14 40 54 88 5 0 1 1 16
2005–06 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 12 44 56 74 24 5 16 21 26
2006–07 Anaheim Ducks NHL 66 13 46 59 69 19 3 12 15 26
2007–08 Anaheim Ducks NHL 72 12 31 43 128 6 2 3 5 12
2008–09 Anaheim Ducks NHL 82 11 37 48 88 13 2 8 10 12
2009–10 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 82 10 45 55 79 23 4 14 18 36
2010–11 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 50 4 21 25 44 3 0 1 1 4
2011–12 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 13 1 11 12 10
NHL totals 1167 157 541 698 1590 173 26 95 121 326


Medal record
Competitor for Canada
Men's ice hockey
Olympic Games
Gold 2002 Salt Lake City
Gold 2010 Vancouver
World Championships
Gold 1997 Finland
World Junior Championships
Gold 1993 Sweden
Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
1993 Canada WJC 1st 7 1 3 4 6
1997 Canada WC 1st 9 0 2 2 4
1998 Canada OG 4th 6 0 0 0 4
2002 Canada OG 1st 6 0 1 1 2
2006 Canada OG 7th 6 1 2 3 16
2010 Canada OG 1st 7 0 5 5 2
Junior totals 7 1 3 4 6
Senior totals 34 1 10 11 36

All-Star Games

Year Location   G A Pts
1999 Tampa Bay 0 2 2
2000 Toronto 0 0 0
2001 Colorado
2002 Los Angeles 0 1 1
2004 Minnesota 0 0 0
2008 Atlanta 0 0 0
All-Star totals 0 3 3


Oct. 29, 1995: with St. Louis — four games, slashing (Washington’s Pat Peake)
Dec. 17, 1998: with St. Louis — four games, high stick (Phoenix’s Jeremy Roenick)
Oct. 11, 2000: with St. Louis — one game, leaving bench for altercation (Los Angeles’ Kelly Buchberger)
April 3, 2002: with St. Louis — two games, cross-check (Dallas' Brenden Morrow)
March 14, 2004: with St. Louis — one game, kicking (Calgary’s Ville Nieminen)
May 15, 2007: with Anaheim — one playoff game, blow to the head (Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom)
June 3, 2007: with Anaheim — one playoff game, blow to the head (Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond)
March 12, 2008: with Anaheim — eight games, stomping on the leg (Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler)

See also


  1. ^ Campbell, Ken (October 14, 2013). "The Magazine: Chris Pronger, still at large".  
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Foster, Chris (2007-06-02). "Alexandre wasn't all that great". LA Times. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  4. ^ Wigge, Larry (2006). "Pronger twists, turns into champion". Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  5. ^ a b Farber, Michael (1999-12-29). "Looming Large = Arrests, brawls and boozing were on Chris Pronger's resume before he grew up to be a soaring presence for the Blues".  
  6. ^ Dan Patrick:Outtakes: Chris Pronger (uncut)
  7. ^ Smith, Cheryl M, ed. (2000). FaceOff 2001 NHL Yearbook. Toronto: Worldsport Properties, Inc. p. 5. 
  8. ^ "Pronger trade request overshadows Oilers draft". 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  9. ^ Tychkowski, Robert (2006-06-24). "Pronger's agent confirms he wants a trade". Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  10. ^ Ireland, Joanne (2006-06-25). "Trade must strengthen Oilers". The Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  11. ^ The Calgary Sun
  12. ^ CANOE – SLAM! Sports – Hockey NHL – Phoenix – He's public enemy No. 2
  13. ^ "'"Pronger: 'I knew I'd be Public Enemy No. 1. 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  14. ^ a b CANOE – SLAM! Sports – Hockey NHL – Edmonton – Edmonton awaits Pronger's return
  15. ^ Oilers watching Ducks' success closely
  16. ^ Ducks' Pronger suspended one game
  17. ^ Pronger speaks out on Game 4 suspension
  18. ^ Ducks' Pronger suspended one game
  19. ^ "Ducks Name Pronger Team Captain". Anaheim Ducks. 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ "NHL reviews Pronger stomp after getting clearer video of incident". Canadian Press. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Sources:NHL investigates Marion Hossa, Chris Pronger contracts".  
  24. ^ Kanalley, Craig (December 30, 2009). "Canadian Olympic Hockey Team: 2010 Roster Released". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  25. ^ "Arthroscopic knee surgery successful for Pronger". Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  26. ^ [3]
  27. ^ "Claude Giroux named Captain of the Flyers". Philadelphia Flyers. January 15, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  28. ^ "'"Flyers' Pronger 'never going to play again. NHL. October 15, 2013. Retrieved Tuesday, 10.15.2013. 
  29. ^ [4]
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Lansner, Jon (2007-12-06). "Shady Canyon's last lot goes for $1.9 million".  

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Róbert Petrovický
Hartford Whalers first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Jeff O'Neill
Preceded by
Eric Lindros
EA Sports NHL Cover Athlete
NHL 2000
Succeeded by
Owen Nolan
Preceded by
Jaromir Jagr
Hart Trophy winner
Succeeded by
Joe Sakic
Preceded by
Al MacInnis
Norris Trophy winner
Succeeded by
Nicklas Lidstrom
Preceded by
John LeClair
John LeClair
NHL Plus/Minus Award winner
Succeeded by
John LeClair
Joe Sakic and Patrik Elias
Preceded by
Mike Richards
Winner of the Bobby Clarke Trophy
Succeeded by
Claude Giroux
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Wayne Gretzky
St. Louis Blues captain
Al MacInnis*, 2002–03
Succeeded by
Al MacInnis
Preceded by
Scott Niedermayer
Anaheim Ducks captain
Succeeded by
Scott Niedermayer
Preceded by
Mike Richards
Philadelphia Flyers captain
Succeeded by
Claude Giroux

*NOTE: Al MacInnis served as captain for nearly the entire 2002–03 NHL season, while Pronger was injured and out of the line-up. Pronger resigned the captaincy at the start of the 2003–04 NHL season, in favour of MacInnis.

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