The Canadian native will lead the Slovak men’s national team until the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Switzerland and the Final Olympic Qualification for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing that Slovakia will host 27-30 August 2020.
“I was worried to make a deal straight after the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia. We were waiting to see how the presidential election of the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation went. After that, we started to talk and everything went easy. He accepted the first proposal,” Satan said.
Craig Ramsay took over the Slovak national team in 2017 and led the Slovaks in two IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships so far where they finished twice in 9th place. During this two-year stint he also coached them at the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament in PyeongChang 2018 where they finished in 11th place.
Ramsay’s contract expired after the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia where the home team inspired the fans with a great performance under the 68 years-old Canadian even though the team missed out on the quarter-finals.
After the election in June, the new President Miroslav Satan started to talk with Ramsay about his future with Slovak hockey. “We agreed on the same conditions as we had before. Both tournaments he will be coaching next year are most important for us. At the next World Championship, we want to finish better than the last few years and we want to qualify for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing,” said Satan.
Ramsay’s assistant coaches haven’t been named yet but Satan tends to the model from the last season, which foresees one permanent assistant coach and a second position on a rotation basis.
“Craig should come to Slovakia in the beginning of the October. We communicate together. We have a group of assistants, who alternated beside him the past two years and we are interested to continuing their work for the future. Possibly, there will be two new names appearing to gain experience with Craig,” added Satan, who stays as General Manager of Slovak national team as well for the meantime.
“I gave an offer to two persons, but we didn’t make a deal. It’s still open. It’s something that could change during the season. For me it wasn’t primarily to fill this position, mainly I wanted to make a deal with Craig Ramsay,” acknowledges Satan.
Craig Ramsay played 1,070 NHL games for the Buffalo Sabres. As head coach he led the Sabers, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. He won his first Stanley Cup as an assistant coach in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lighting.
He also worked for the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers. He has held several positions form head coach, assistant coach, scout to assistant general manager. The former Frank J. Selke Trophy winner is the third foreign coach for the Slovak men’s national team in history after Glen Hanlon and Vladimir Vujtek.