It all happened so fast. The hockey world had its gaze fixed on the ownership squabbles in Phoenix, waiting for the city of Glendale, Matthew Hulsizer, the Goldwater Institute, and the NHL to reach their collective breaking point and allow the Coyotes to head north to Winnipeg. Then it happened. The Atlanta Thrashers were snatched up by Winnipeg based True North Sports & Entertainment and were officially bound for Manitoba. Then things slowed down to a frustrating pace… for everyone.

It doesn’t really come as a surprise that former Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay took the opportunity to voice his displeasure with how TNSE handled the transition. First general manager Rick Dudley was taken out of the equation, and Ramsay’s status sat in some sort of limbo until he was informed that he would be considered for the coaching position – but he’d have to interview for it. Hell, the team didn’t even have a name until the NHL Entry Draft rolled around. In speaking with Rogers Sportsnet’s Mike Brophy, Ramsay didn’t hold back in his criticism of the events leading up to his exodus from the franchise.

According to Ramsay, the new ownership group failed to give him any indication of what his status was following the migration:

“I never got a phone call from the Winnipeg people when they apparently bought the team. None of us did. There are always three choices: ‘We want you; we don’t want you or we really don’t know at this point because we don’t have a general manager in place.’ At least then the communication is open and you’ve spoken to the (new owners) and that didn’t happen. It’s disappointing. I think with 40 years in the business you deserve a call from them to let you know where things stand and where they think they are headed.”

Ramsay was hired by the Florida Panthers as an assistant coach on Wednesday, but he was open about his frustration in watching opportunities pass by as he awaited his fate:

“The fact that they dragged it out meant there were jobs that were going by the wayside while we were under the assumption that perhaps Winnipeg was interested in bringing our group along. It was a month or more just sitting by the phone waiting for things to happen while you are under obligation not to talk to other teams because of tampering charges. (General manager) Rick Dudley was at least let go right away so he could go about his business, but you have good people like (assistant coaches) Mike Stothers and John Torchetti and the training staff sitting there waiting for some indication as to what was going on. When Kevin Cheveldayoff got the (GM) job he at least called right away. Other than that we were just sitting there and waiting and that’s not fair.”

It’s hard not to side with Ramsay, assuming his comments are accurate, especially given the fact that he could very well be without a job right now. TNSE should have just let him go from the start, as Ramsay himself indicated would have been a better route.

The Thrashers’ transformation into the Jets hasn’t exactly gotten off to the smoothest start, but things appear to be taking shape. It would have be been best for everyone if ownership didn’t manage to piss off a number of respected hockey people in the process, but yeah… that whole hindsight thing.

What’s your say, is Craig Ramsay right to publicly slam his former team?

Comments (11)

  1. Pretty unprofessional of them.

  2. Calm down Ramsay you got another job making lots of money , if you were a good coach you would of stuck around

  3. Ramsay has an excellent track record as an assistant coach, and in particular a PK specialist. Check out Boston’s PK stats when Ramsay was an assistant the past few years before he got hired in ATL compared to this year’s Bruins PK stats.

  4. Didn’t the Leafs just switch around 2 Ass’t coaches? Wasn’t the Leafs’ PK awful last season? Hmm..

  5. Welcome to the real world, Mr Ramsay. I presume the hundreds of thousands of dollars per season you made as a player should have made you financially secure. You couldn’t take the suspense of wondering if you would be unemployed, having to “endure” just a few weeks to find out your fate? Attitude is a major part of the equation for success, and right from the time of the announcement of the sale/transfer of the Thrashers you were whining.
    True North has a hell of a lot to do in the transition, and so far all the personal they have hired have upbeat positive attitudes.

    One more comment: Claude Noel also had to wait to find out his fate ie would he have to move with the Moose to Newfoundland, would the Canucks give True North permission to interview him, or would have just be let go? Mr Noel no doubt had a few anxious weeks but he knew to be patient; decisions like this do not happen overnight.

  6. It’s not up to TNSE alone to decide what they were going to do about the coaching of their team. Perhaps they should have called him earlier, but as soon as they got their GM, Ramsey got his phone call. I think this is just a case of being bitter and venting by Ramsey.

  7. Yes they took a whole 8 days to call you Craig…and then they could only say he were kinda busy we’ll get back to you. You didn’t have to wait…you could have said no tell me now or I’ll quit and look for a different job. Instead you waited…did you whine like this in the interview? If so I think I know why they didn’t retain you as head coach.

  8. I think you should have realized your fate when they told you, you had to interview for the job again. HELLO wake up Craig good luck in florida and be happy your making a fortune to coach and watch hockey cuz I’d trade places with you in a second. lol

  9. I think, regardless of what industry, leadership is important. I do understand his frustration and do side with him regarding how it should have happened. At least with good leadership. However, the phone goes 2 ways. So, while he cannot talk to other teams, I am assuming he could call the new ownership to ask for a status update and timelines.

    It does put into question the leadership of the Jets (although I will be definitely cheering them on) and their staff should be fully aware of what it will take to succeed in that organization. They will need to take control of their own careers and ask questions!!

  10. Some good points made in the comments.

    My take: It probably didn’t take long for Ramsay to see the writing on the wall. While TNSE had a lot going on, a courtesy phone call isn’t that time consuming.

    All the negative comments about Ramsay’s compensation are pointless in my opinion. I haven’t seen any comments by Ramsay complaining about his salary. His pay is a result of the industry that he works in and I’m sure (or hope) he is thankful for it and his opportunities.

    I’m glad he’s been able to land himself another position. My take is that he was voicing his displeasure at the way it was handled and in particular on behalf of the rest of the staff whose fate likely won’t be as fortunate or who won’t get a chance to voice their complaints.

  11. I am a season ticket holder with the Jets (that is awesome to say) and excuss me for venting. Once the Sale was annouced it was reported and rereported about timelines. President, Vice President, GM and Coach. The first job had to be filled prior to the last. It should have pretty straight forward for him to acknowledge that this major undertaking would be time consuming. Secondly, it wasn’t a month or so it was less then 3 weeks for him to be notified about his potiental fate and Dudley and all the support staff, trainers were notified then that their services would not be required. Thirdly, the unhappiness of not be selected I think is what is driving his disappointment, but saying that, I would have been quite surprised for him to hold his job as Mark and Kevin put “their” people in place and that is a decision I fully support and so do the rest of the fans. And lastly, I commend Craig’s work he’s done for the Thrasher’s in the past and wish him well.

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