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).
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.
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.
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.