Oh how I remember watching Paul Ranger when he came to the Lightning…so much potential and raw talent, it was scary. Whatever happened to his hockey career is known only to Paul and those to whom he confided his reasons for leaving the NHL.
But I wasn’t surprised in August of last year when he signed a minor league deal with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies after being three years removed from competitive hockey. Nor was I shocked last week when the 28yo defenseman agreed to terms with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Look for Ranger’s return to the Tampa Bay Times Forum during the upcoming season. And you know what? I’ll be one of the first fans standing to welcome him back to HockeyBay USA.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from Ranger’s comeback, it’s never to give up, no matter what the personal or professional challenge that’s staring you down. I don’t know whether or not Paul Ranger will make it through the 2013-2014 season but it really doesn’t matter. He may have been down and out, but he never quit on himself or the sport he obviously loves.
Sometimes for better or for worse, our lives and careers take detours, twists and turns that are seldom planned, and often unexpected. Overcoming those challenges demands the heart and soul of someone committed not only to survival, but to success beyond measure.
Welcome back to the NHL, Paul. We wish you all the best!