1983-84 was a historic season for the Western Hockey League. The individual record for most goals by a player in a single season was set. Actually, it wasn’t only set, it was raised to a level that may never be topped.
Ray Ferraro was a National Hockey League prospect before playing a single game in the WHL. The Hartford Whalers took him in the fifth round of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft while playing for the Penticton Knights of the BCJHL. Ferraro was in his second of two WHL seasons in 1983-84 and led the league with a remarkable 108 goals over 72 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He also added 84 assists for 192 points to earn the Bob Clarke Trophy.
Ferraro played just two years in the WHL, his first was with the Portland Winter Hawks. In 1984-85, he split his first season in pro hockey with the Binghamton Whalers of the AHL and the Hartford Whalers. After that, he was a mainstay in the NHL until the end of 2001-02. He never regained that miraculous scoring touch from 1983-84 but did score 408 goals over 1,258 regular season games in the NHL with the Whalers, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers and St. Louis Blues.
Dale Derkatch of the Regina Pats scored 36 less goals than Ferraro but still finished second with a very respectable 72 goals in just 62 games. In three years with the Pats, from 1981-82 to 1983-84, Derkatch scored 218 goals in just 200 games. He topped out with 84 goals in 1982-83, leading the league in goals and points with 179. He played just four games for Regina in 1984-85 but still scored four goals and totalled eleven points.
Dale was a seventh round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1983 but never got into an NHL game. Derkatch spent over a decade in Europe, playing in Italy, Finland, Germany and Switzerland.
Cliff Ronning had a pretty impressive rookie season in 1983-84, scoring 69 goals in 71 games with the New Westminster Bruins. He became a prospect of the St. Louis Blues at the end of the season and the seventh rounder did nothing to disprove his skills. The following season, his last in the WHL, he led the league with 89 goals and 197 points.
Ronning didn’t go straight to St. Louis. Cliff put in 71 games with the Canadian National Team, scoring 55 goals and totalling 118 points. He found his way to Missouri for the 1985-86 Stanley Cup playoffs and appeared in five games for the Blues. Ronning went on to play 1,137 games in the NHL between 1985-86 and 2003-04 with the Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders.
Dave Pasin finished fourth with 68 goals over 71 games with the Prince Albert Raiders. The Boston Bruins selected him 19th overall at the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. He played one more year with the Raiders with his numbers dropping slightly but also playing six less games.
Pasin moved right into a regular role with Boston, playing 71 games in 1985-86. However, he would play just five more games in the NHL and not until the 1988-89 season with the Los Angeles Kings. Dave spent the final years of his pro career in Europe, appearing in Switzerland and Italy.
Ken Quinney rounded out the top five with 64 goals in 71 games for the Calgary Wranglers. It was Quinney’s third of four years in the WHL and was a late tenth round pick of the Quebec Nordiques in 1984. Ken appeared in 59 NHL games between 1986-87 and 1990-91, all with Quebec. He finished off his pro career with three years as a member of the Frankfurt Lions in Germany’s DEL.
A bit of hockey trivia, two of the key players among the WHL top 5 goal scorers in 1983-84, Ray Ferraro and Cliff Ronning, both played for the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. However, the two were never on the same roster at the same time.