Saturday, December 3, 2011
After graduating from Minneapolis Roosevelt High School, where he was considered the top defenseman in Minnesota, Mike Ramsey, born on this date in 1960, joined the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers for the 1978-79 season.
Mike Ramsey of the Roosevelt Teddies
Ramsey scored 24 points in 34 games as a college rookie as Minnesota would go on to win the NCAA national championship under the guidance of head coach Herb Brooks.
During that season Ramsey also participated in the 1979 World Junior Championships for the United States. Later that spring, Ramsey was chosen 11th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, the first Minnesotan ever taken in the first round.
Rather than return to Minnesota for a second season, Ramsey became the youngest member of the United States Olympic Hockey Team under his college coach Brooks. The Americans shocked the world by upsetting the Soviet Union in the "Miracle on Ice" and then completed their quest by winning the gold medal with a win over Finland.
Ramsey demonstrating his tough defensive style
Following the Olympics, Ramsey immediately turned professional and joined the Sabres for the final 13 games of the season followed by an equal number of playoff games, a total of 89 games played that season including the Olympic Team's training schedule, a huge number of games for someone two years removed from high school hockey.
Ramsey, buoyed by his high pressure Olympic experience against players much older than himself, adapted to the faster and stronger players in the NHL, playing over 150 games in the NHL over the course of the next two seasons. With Buffalo quickly eliminated from the playoffs, Ramsey was free to once again wear the red, white and blue of the United States at the 1982 World Championships.
The 1982-83 NHL season was one of Ramsey's finest offensive seasons, as he scored 8 goals and 38 points while posting a +20 rating. The following season Ramsey's offensive total dipped to 31 points, but he set a career high with 9 goals, as well as having a +27 rating.
Before the 1984-85 NHL season could begin, Ramsey competed in the 1984 Canada Cup tournament, scoring a goal and an assist in six games as the United States
finished second in the round robin portion of the tournament before losing in the semifinals.
Another strong 30 point season followed as Ramsey set a career high with a +31 rating. Two more seasons with Buffalo saw Ramsey extend his streak of 72 or more games played to seven, and set a career high in 1986-87 with 30 points. Ramsey was also named an NHL All-Star in 1987 when the usual All-Star Game format was put on hold as the NHLers faced off against the Soviet Union in the two-game series known as Rendez-Vous '87.
The 1987 Canada Cup came next for Ramsey prior to the 1987-88 NHL season, the first of six more solid defensive seasons with the Sabres which included being named captain of the Sabres in 1991-92. Then, after 14 seasons in Buffalo, Ramsey was traded to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins where he was reunited with his old Sabres coach Scotty Bowman.
There was no third Stanley Cup however, and after playing the following season of 1993-94 with the Penguins, Ramsey signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings. His time there was spoiled by injuries which limited him to just 33 games in 1994-95 and 47 the next.
He retired over the summer, but returned for a pair of games in February of 1996, but felt he wasn't up to standards and retired for good after 18 seasons, 1,070 games, 79 goals and 266 assists for 345 point and but one season with a negative plus/minus rating all while never playing a single game in the minors.
Ramsey played in four NHL All-Star Games and was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Today's featured jersey is a 1986-87 Buffalo Sabres Mike Ramsey jersey. This classic Sabres jersey style would remain in use through the 1995-96 season until replaced by an all new look for Buffalo when the team's colors changed to red, black and white. It was brought back as an alternate jersey in 2006-07 and was the basis for a new, modernized alternate in 2008-09 before being promoted to the team's primary jersey in 2010-11, much to the delight of the fans.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1980 United States Olympic Team Mike Ramsey jersey. This blue road jersey was worn during the Americans final game against Finland which clinched the gold medal.
In today's video section, a great clip, as Ramsey levels a Montreal Canadiens player with a clean, hard hit and is then jumped by Mario Tremblay. Not only does Ramsey land a dozen heavy rights, but the two of them would go on to be assistant coaches together with the Minnesota Wild!
Here, Ramsey risks his life and career by actually checking Wayne Gretzky - during the NHL All-Star Game! Yes, he didn't put Gretzky in the fourth row of seats like he could have, but still, it's the last hit we recall in an all-star game!
Finally, here is Ramsey being interviewed a in 2009 between periods of a Minnesota High School girls hockey game in which his daughter Rachel was playing.