Craig Ramsay, who has nearly four decades' worth of NHL experience as a player and coach, returned to the Florida Panthers organization Thursday, named as an assistant to first-year head coach Kevin Dineen.
Ramsay spent last season as the coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, but was not retained after the team was sold and relocated to Winnipeg.
"It is great to be able to re-join the Florida Panthers organization and come back home again," Ramsay said. "I look forward to working with Head Coach Kevin Dineen, the entire coaching staff, our management team and all our players as we strive to reach our goals and objectives. Having previously served as associate coach during the team’s first two seasons, I have seen firsthand the passion that the South Florida community has for hockey and I look forward to being part of it once again."
Ramsay worked under the tutelage of Roger Neilson during his first stint with the Panthers. He'll now provide a veteran influence behind the bench as the 47-year-old Dineen embarks on his first season as an NHL coach.
"I am thrilled to add Craig to our coaching staff," Dineen said. "He brings an in-depth knowledge and experience to the Panthers organization which will be an invaluable resource for our players to draw from. He is one of the most respected and well-liked individuals in the game and will fit in perfectly on our staff with Gord Murphy and Robb Tallas. He will be a great addition to the environment that we aim to create within the Florida Panthers locker room."
Prior to working in Atlanta, Ramsay served as an assistant coach/associate coach with the Bruins for three seasons (2007-10). Ramsay’s coaching resume also includes serving as the associate coach in Tampa Bay (2001-07), earning a Stanley Cup title in 2004, as well as an assistant coach in Philadelphia (1998-00). Ramsay was named interim head coach of the Flyers in February 2000, guiding the team to a 16-8-1-0 mark while claiming the Atlantic Division title with 105 points. The Flyers then came within one win of appearing in the Stanley Cup Final.
Before joining Philadelphia, Ramsay worked as an assistant coach for Ottawa (1996-98) and the Panthers (1993-95). He began his coaching career with the Buffalo organization where he served as an assistant coach during the 1986-87 season and took over as interim head coach late in the year. Prior to leaving the Sabres in 1993, Ramsay also served as the team’s director of player personnel and assistant general manager.
"We are pleased to welcome Craig back to the Florida Panthers family," General Manager Dale Tallon said. "He is a brilliant hockey mind and brings to our organization a wealth of hockey experience having served as player, head coach, assistant coach and director of player personnel. Craig’s vast knowledge of the game will be an asset for Head Coach Kevin Dineen, our entire coaching staff and all our players."
Ramsay, who was drafted by Buffalo in the second round (No. 19) in the 1971 Entry Draft, spent his entire NHL playing career with the Sabres. He played 1,070 games, registering 252 goals and 672 points. He appeared in 776 consecutive games from 1973-1983, which ranks as the fourth longest consecutive games streak in NHL history. He was also named the recipient of the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 1985, given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.