|Hockey Hall of Fame, 2015|
Pronger playing at the 2010 Winter Olympics
October 10, 1974 |
Dryden, ON, CAN
|Height||6 ft 6 in (198 cm)|
|Weight||220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)|
St. Louis Blues
|NHL Draft||2nd overall, 1993
Christopher Robert Pronger (// or //; born October 10, 1974) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who is currently under contract with the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has not played since November 2011 due to post-concussion syndrome related to three separate hits suffered during his career; he also suffers from vision impairment due to being hit in the eye(s) by the blade of another player's stick. Though not officially retired, he is not expected to play again. In October 2014, Pronger signed a contract with the NHL to assist its Player Safety Division, although he is excused from any decisions directly affecting the Coyotes, 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 Philadelphia 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. 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.
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Transactions
- 4 Awards
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 Suspensions
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
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."
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. 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). 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.
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. 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.) 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.
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, while media outlets 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. 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), and Anaheim's 2008 second-round draft pick (later traded to the New York Islanders).
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. He later criticized the Canadian media's coverage of the incident. In the final round, Pronger was suspended for one game for elbowing Ottawa Senators winger Dean McAmmond in the head during game 3. 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. 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, as Chris Simon had received a 30-game suspension for a stomp the previous year, with some suggesting that the league gave preferential treatment towards Pronger as a league MVP and an "ambassador for the game". He returned to the ice April 6 against the Phoenix Coyotes in Anaheim's last regular season game of the year.
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.
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. 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 was front-loaded, with annual salaries of just $525,000 in the final two years, and expired by the time Pronger turned 42, the investigation was launched with the focus on the potential of negotiations between Pronger and the Flyers to retire before contract expiration. 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. 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. 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.
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. Pronger's contract runs through the 2016-17 season; he will not retire as a player until then. 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.  While no longer an on-ice player, Pronger still remained with the Flyers at the management level helping to scout and interview prospects.
On June 27, 2015, the Philadelphia Flyers included Pronger's contract in a trade, alongside Nicklas Grossmann, to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Sam Gagner and a conditional pick. The deal was made to the benefit of salary cap implications to each club, and Pronger is not expected to play for the team. Three days later, on June 30, 2015, he was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame; as the Hall only counts games played as its criteria for the minimum waiting period, Pronger was eligible for induction even though he is still technically an active player, as he had not played a game in three full seasons at the time of his induction.
He and his wife Lauren Pronger have two sons, Jack Hunter (born 2002) and George William (born 2004), and one daughter, Lilah Marie, who was born on July 23, 2008. He lived in Irvine, California, while playing for the Anaheim Ducks. and 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.
- June 26, 1993 – Drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the 1st round, 2nd overall.
- July 27, 1995 – Traded to the St. Louis Blues for Brendan Shanahan.
- August 3, 2005 – Traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch.
- July 3, 2006 – Traded to the Anaheim Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Šmíd, 1st round pick in 2007 (Riley Nash), a 2008 2nd round picks (traded to New York Islanders, Travis Hamonic) and a conditional 1st round pick for one of the 2008/2009/2010 drafts (conditions were met in 2008, Jordan Eberle).
- June 26, 2009 – Traded to the Philadelphia Flyers along with Ryan Dingle for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, and Philadelphia's 1st round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (Traded to Columbus, John Moore) and the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (Emerson Etem), and a conditional pick for either the 2010 NHL Entry Draft or the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (conditions did not transpire).
- June 27, 2015 – Traded to the Arizona Coyotes along with Nicklas Grossmann for Sam Gagner and a conditional pick for either the 2016 NHL Entry Draft or the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
- OHL First All-Star Team – 1993
- Max Kaminsky Trophy – 1993
- CHL Plus/Minus Award – 1993
- CHL Best defenceman – 1993
- NHL All-Rookie Team – 1994
- Bud Light NHL Plus/Minus Award – 1998, 2000
- Played in NHL All-Star Game – 1999, 2000, 2001 (voted in as starter but injured), 2002, 2004, 2008
- James Norris Memorial Trophy – 2000
- Hart Trophy (MVP) – 2000
- NHL First All-Star Team - 2000
- NHL Second All-Star Team - 1998, 2004, 2007
- 2002 Winter Olympics - Won Olympic Gold with Team Canada
- Stanley Cup champion – 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks
- 2010 Winter Olympics - Won Olympic Gold with Team Canada
- Hockey Hall of Fame - 2015
Regular season and playoffs
|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|
|Men's ice hockey|
|2002 Salt Lake City|
|World Junior Championships|
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)
- Campbell, Ken (October 14, 2013). "The Magazine: Chris Pronger, still at large". The Hockey News. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
- Foster, Chris (2007-06-02). "Alexandre wasn't all that great". LA Times. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
- Wigge, Larry (2006). "Pronger twists, turns into champion". NHL.com. Retrieved 2007-02-26.[dead link]
- 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". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
- Dan Patrick:Outtakes: Chris Pronger (uncut)
- Smith, Cheryl M, ed. (2000). FaceOff 2001 NHL Yearbook. Toronto: Worldsport Properties, Inc. p. 5.
- "Pronger trade request overshadows Oilers draft". NHL.com. 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-26.[dead link]
- Tychkowski, Robert (2006-06-24). "Pronger's agent confirms he wants a trade". edmontonsun.com. Retrieved 2007-06-04.[dead link]
- Ireland, Joanne (2006-06-25). "Trade must strengthen Oilers". The Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2007-06-04.
- The Calgary Sun
- CANOE – SLAM! Sports – Hockey NHL – Phoenix – He's public enemy No. 2
- "Pronger: 'I knew I'd be Public Enemy No. 1'". ESPN.com. 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-26.
- CANOE – SLAM! Sports – Hockey NHL – Edmonton – Edmonton awaits Pronger's return
- Oilers watching Ducks' success closely
- Ducks' Pronger suspended one game
- Pronger speaks out on Game 4 suspension
- Ducks' Pronger suspended one game
- "Ducks Name Pronger Team Captain". Anaheim Ducks. 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "NHL reviews Pronger stomp after getting clearer video of incident". Canadian Press. 2008. Archived from the original on March 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- "Sources:NHL investigates Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger contracts". ESPN. 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- Kanalley, Craig (December 30, 2009). "Canadian Olympic Hockey Team: 2010 Roster Released". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
- "Arthroscopic knee surgery successful for Pronger". NHL.com. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
- "Claude Giroux named Captain of the Flyers". Philadelphia Flyers. January 15, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
- "Flyers' Pronger 'never going to play again'". NHL. October 15, 2013. Retrieved Tuesday, 10.15.2013. Check date values in:
- "Flyers trade Chris Pronger's contract, Nicklas Grossman to the Coyotes". CBS Sports. 2015-06-27. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
- Lansner, Jon (2007-12-06). "Shady Canyon's last lot goes for $1.9 million". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chris Pronger.|
- Career statistics and player information from NHL.com, or Hockey-Reference.com, or Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database, or TSN.ca
- "Captain Crunch's Time Has Come", The Toronto Sun, February 1, 1998.
|Awards and achievements|
|Hartford Whalers first round draft pick
|EA Sports NHL Cover Athlete
|Hart Trophy winner
|Norris Trophy winner
|NHL Plus/Minus Award winner
Joe Sakic and Patrik Elias
|Winner of the Bobby Clarke Trophy
|St. Louis Blues captain
Al MacInnis*, 2002–03
|Anaheim Ducks captain
|Philadelphia Flyers captain
*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.