Play “Brass Bonanza” because it’s time we look at the career of Ray Ferraro. Growing up in Trail, Ferraro enjoyed a stellar hockey journey and is now excelling in the broadcasting world.
Playing for his hometown Trail Smoke Eaters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, Ferraro popped in 82 points in 49 games in his rookie year of 1979-80 as a 15-year-old. In 1980-81, he didn’t disappoint as a 16-year-old sophomore and scored 86 goals.
Ferraro’s incredible two years in Trail ended with him going to play for the Penticton Knights of the BC Junior Hockey League (as the BCHL was then known) for a season where he left a mark. In his lone season in the BCJHL, Ferraro won the league’s top scorer and the Vern Dye Memorial Award as most valuable player.
It was not only an impressive individual season, but the team also found success, winning the Fred Page Cup and before falling in game seven to the St. Albert Saints in the Doyle Cup. After a 135 point season, Ferraro moved to the Western Hockey League as an 18-year-old.
In his first WHL season of 1982-83, Ferraro played for the Portland Winter Hawks and registered 90 points in 50 games en route to winning the Memorial Cup. His second WHL season, with the Brandon Wheat Kings, saw him score big individually.
Ferraro was named to the first all-star team, earned himself the top scorer with the most points, including an eye-popping 108 goals in 72 games, and WHL player of the year. After an outstanding junior career, the next step is pro, and that’s exactly where Ferraro went as a 20-year-old.
Making waves with the Whalers
He was selected by the Hartford Whalers in the fifth round, 88th overall, in the 1982 NHL Draft. In Ferraro’s first pro season, he spent time with the Whalers and their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, New York. He played 44 games in the NHL while collecting 28 points along the way.
The 1985-86 campaign was Ferraro’s first full season in the NHL, where he achieved 77 points in 76 games. In seven total seasons in Hartford, Ferraro combined for 351 points in 442 games before being traded to the New York Islanders for defenseman Doug Crossman on Nov. 30, 1990.
As the second-longest tenure out of the six clubs he played for, Ferraro had a great run in the 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs with the Islanders.
He and the Islanders beat the Washington Capitals and defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins before losing to the eventual champion Montreal Canadiens. After five seasons on Long Island, Ferraro crossed the East River and joined the New York Rangers as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 1995.
It was just a cup of coffee for Ferraro, whose stay in the Big Apple was brief. He suited up for the Blueshirts for 65 games and recorded 54 points before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings along with Nathan Lafayette, Ian Laperriere, and Mattias Norstrom. It was a deal on Mar. 14, 1996, that saw Jari Kurri, Marty McSorley, and Shane Churla go the other way.
From Hollywood to Hotlanta
In the bright lights of Hollywood, Ferraro had 98 points in 197 games for the Kings from 1996-99, but most people 35 or younger remember Ferraro as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers.
At the tail end of his hockey career, Ferraro joined the new kids of the NHL and was named the third captain in the team’s short history. He registered 147 points in 197 games in Atlanta, which is ranked ninth in Thrashers history, not including the team’s stats after relocating to Winnipeg.
In a dismal 2001-02 season, the Thrashers traded Ferraro to the playoff-bound St. Blues, but he only suited up 15 times due to a nagging knee injury.
After 1,258 games in the NHL, Ferraro now is thriving in the broadcast industry where you can hear him break down the game for TSN and on EA Sports’ NHL video game series providing colour commentary.