Craig “Rammer” Ramsay

The Buffalo Sabres rose quickly and made the Stanley Cup Finals in only their fifth season, quite an accomplishment during the 1970s and Mr. Craig Edward “Rammer” Ramsay was an integral part of that Wales Conference championship team.

Mr. Ramsay was born on St. Patrick’s Day 1951 in the former village of Weston (also known as Thistletown) now a neighborhood of Toronto Ontario and growing up his favorite player was Mr. Dave Keon of the Leafs.

Mr. Ramsay was part of the OHL prestigious J. Ross Robertson Cup Champions (J. Ross Robertson Junior Silver Challenge Trophy first awarded in 1898, after 1933-34 was designated for the Junior A champions) and Memorial Cup Finalist with the Peterborough Petes in the 1971 – 72 round-robin series with a final take all game.  

Under Head Coach Roger Neilson his line was the shut-down line, an indication of things to come as Mr. Ramsay would acknowledge his job was to stop the other guy from scoring and took pride in his offensive capabilities.

Mr. Ramsay was drafted 19th overall in the second round of the 1971 NHL Amateur draft which also included Mr. Richard Martin and Mr. Bill Hajt for the Sabres. He played 19 games with the AHL Swords and then up to the NHL Sabres for 57 games in his first season.

The following season in 1972 Mr. Ramsay was also drafted by the WHA Hartford Whalers during the rounds 51-70 of their amateur draft.

From his first day as a 20-year-old until he retired in 1985 at 33 years of age Mr. Ramsay skated only for Buffalo in the NHL becoming only the second player to play 1,000 games for Buffalo along with becoming a naturalized American citizen with the Sabres.  

Mr. Ramsay was one of my favorites and when paired with Mr. Luce became the most dominating shut-down duo in the NHL and when Mr. Gare was added to the line they scored 90 goals second only to the French Connection during the magical Cup run of 74-75.

Buffalo Sabres and other team records and firsts:

The fewest penalty minutes in a full season “0” (shared record) in 1973-74, ironically not even voted on for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy that season, the eventual winner collected eight PIMS.

Most consecutive games: 776 and this streak ended when his foot was broken from a shot during a game versus Los Angeles on February 10th, 1983 (fourth-longest Iron Man streak in the NHL).

Roller-Derby Helmet

Mr. Ramsay had eight consecutive 20 plus goals seasons and during each of those eight seasons, he played all 80 games and is one of four Sabres to have played in over 80 playoff games.

During the 1971 season, his first three goals scored in the NHL was a Hat Trick scored against the Minnesota North Stars in a 3 – 1 game, he collected two more Hat Tricks scored against the Washington Capitals in 1975 and the Colorado Rockies during the 1977 season.

Slap Shot sideburns aka McCracken

Most games played by the Sabres at Left Wing 1,070 and his 1,000th game happened on October 28th, 1984 against the Calgary Flames.

Most Short Handed Goals: 27 tops for Buffalo and 37th most in NHL history and 25 of the players ahead of him needed more games to score and be ranked ahead of Mr. Ramsay.

In 1973 the Buffalo Sabres first playoff game was against the Montreal Canadiens and it was Mr. Ramsay scoring Buffalo’s first-ever playoff goal to take the 1 – 0 lead.

Voted to the 1975 All-Star game.

Then in 1976, Mr. Ramsay scored the Buffalo Sabres first short-handed playoff goal versus the St. Louis Blues.

Frank J. Selke Trophy

The fifth player to earn the Frank J. Selke Trophy for excellence in the defensive aspects of the game Mr. Ramsay earned this honor from the “Professional Hockey Writers’ Association” in 1985 after being voted for the trophy nine seasons in a row.

Mr. Ramsay was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame class of 1995.

It was a bittersweet feeling for me when I watched three former Buffalo Sabres one player with a Head and Assistant Coach (Mr. Ramsay) win and have their names etched into the Stanley Cup as representatives of another team in 2004.

Additionally, Mr. Ramsay was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame class of 2012.

Mr. Ramsay initially coached for Buffalo in 1986 – 87 as player-coach, assistant coach, and head coach for a total of 68 games eventually leaving Buffalo after one season and coaching for seven other NHL teams over the next 30 seasons and currently coaching the 2022 Slovakia National Team.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present one of the most productive players and major contributors to the early years of the Buffalo Sabres and one of the most overlooked and underrated players in Buffalo history, Mr. Craig Edward “Rammer” Ramsay.

Author: Buffalo Winter

Hockey

6 thoughts on “Craig “Rammer” Ramsay”

  1. Fantastic player! I remember him well. He wasn’t just a shut down player; his line also put the puck in the net! Not too many like that. The Selke was invented for Bob Gainey, but Craig Ramsay (good Scottish name) came darn close (only less intimidating). It was that goal scoring counter punch that made him a danger.

    If you ever come up to visit, I’ll take you to a Petes game. Gens are closer, but Petes games are better.

    Funny thing, I had not got an update mail in a while, so I came here and found this article. then I checked my mail … haha

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Woody,

      Thanks for taking the time to read this article, I appreciate it

      Mr. Gainey earned and deserved his accolades

      Simundus de Ramesia the first recorded use of this name is an ancient family of Ramsay and is of Anglo-Norman origin, I just read, lol

      If I am able someday to come back up into Canada we definitely will take in a game for sure

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m east of Oshawa, and south of Peterborough. Petes game it is! I’ll take you past my old lakefront place. Normans were French. Anglos have nothing to do with it. The Auld Alliance is Scotland and France. Hence names that confuse folk such as Lambert, and Sinclair, and St. Clair. They are both French and Scottish (a lot of inter-marrying there).

        Also, your article was posted this morning:

        http://hockeychat.ca/page-2.html

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another very meaty article, thanks BW.

    Our children grew up in North Toronto and attended Blythwood Jr PS (where the Hamilton brothers also went) and later Glenview Middle School which was just up the road from John Ross Robertson Jr PS.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you P_g,

      “meaty”, lol, yes I wrote a few more hundred words than the average player articles

      …I just kept finding all this interesting information about him and I could of went on and on just about his coaching career

      North Toronto Jr PS on the edge of Blythwood Ravine Park and Sherwood Forrest, lol, lots of Sunnyviews and Sunnybrooks around there now it seems

      Of course sixty years ago when Mr. Ramsay was a boy living in the area there was not much commercial development

      Nice accolades to have a Hockey Trophy and a school named after you for your accomplishments in life, Mr. J. Ross Robertson must have been a very successful newspaperman as one of Toronto’s benefactors and I appreciate that he was a Historian as well, too cool

      Liked by 2 people

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