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?