Jack Ramsey loved every time he got on the ice with his father, Mike, especially when the elder Ramsey was an assistant coach for the Minnesota Wild. There were times Mike couldn’t get his son off the ice.
Someone else could, however.
“Jack was on the ice at the middle of practice and Jacques (Lemaire) yelled at him and he got off quick,” Mike said with a laugh, referring to the Wild’s former head coach. “He wouldn’t get off for me.”
All those years on the ice paid off when Jack was selected in the seventh round by the Blackhawks in last month’s draft. Now the 18-year-old is wrapping up his first prospect camp in Chicago, an experience that’s been beneficial for him.
“It was just a pretty fun experience playing with these guys,” Ramsey said on Thursday. “Coming into it, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t expecting the pace but we jumped in right away today; it was probably one of our better games. I’m just learning a lot of stuff on and off the ice.”
Ramsey’s been learning hockey since he was 2, when he was first put into a pair of skates. There was little doubt he was going down the hockey path, considering his dad was a member of the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team. Mike went on to play 18 years in the NHL and was an assistant for the Wild from 2000-2010.
“I couldn’t avoid hockey growing up; I was with him all the time,” the younger Ramsey said. “Every time I’d have a game, I’d get off the ice and there was a coach waiting for me in the car, so I learned stuff every day.”
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For Mike, the time with Jack at the rink was a great time to bond, especially during his assistant coaching days. And seeing his son get drafted by the Blackhawks last month was even better.
“I was obviously very proud,” said Mike. “I know it’s the 208th pick, but that doesn’t make it any different. It was very exciting.”
Jack Ramsey played last season with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, and recorded nine goals and 16 assists in 57 games. He’ll play this season with Penticton again before heading to the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2015. Ramsey said going from high-school hockey to the BCHL was an adjustment, but a good one.
“You’re playing three times the amount of games. Guys are 18-21 years old so you’re playing with men, not just boys, so you get thrown around a little bit,” he said. “But you learn to handle the game a little bit better. It’s faster; it’s stronger. It helps when you come out here because the pace is picked up.”
Jack will keep honing his game as well as growing into his lanky, 6-foot-3 frame – he’s currently 175 pounds. Mike said playing in the junior league should help Jack’s development.
“He’ll get stronger and I think that will come with time. And (he’ll) keep growing with the game,” Mike said. “Last year was a really good year for him just playing. It’s a big difference and you’re playing three games a week, practicing, traveling and becoming a hockey player.”
Ramsey enjoyed his time at this week’s camp. The games were intense and fast – “some guys fight, some guys score goals. When everyone’s playing their role, bodies are flying out there,” he said. Ramsey will take a lot out of prospect camp and apply it as he continues to play. He’ll also apply his father’s advice, still the best he’s ever gotten.
“A lot of people think it’s stuff on the ice and what not, but it’s the little things: working your hardest, treating the people on the ice and your coaches (right) and your body language,” Ramsey said. “(Those are) the biggest things he’s taught me, so I guess it’s paid off.”