After a career that saw him rack up 324 games in the Ontario Hockey League, earn a pro contract with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, and eight seasons playing professionally in Europe before moving to the Highlands to coach the Haliburton County Huskies, Ryan Ramsay has built quite the hockey resume.
The 40-year-old added another feather to his cap this summer, joining the OHL’s North Bay Battalion as a development consultant. He’ll merge the role with his coaching duties with the Huskies for the 2023/24 season.
Speaking to The Highlander about the opportunity, Ramsay said it wasn’t something he chased or sought out, coming about due to a prior relationship with Battalion general manager, Adam Dennis.
“I played with Adam when I was a pro. We’ve always connected when it comes to hockey, we talk a lot – he asks some questions of me, me of him, and we frequently bounce ideas off each other as GMs,” Ramsay said. “We had a couple of conversations over the summer and that turned into us talking about working together on player development, which I’m really passionate about.
“I have a lot of respect for Adam and the program he runs. North Bay has gone to the conference finals two years in a row – I really like what they’re doing, so this is a great opportunity for me to work with, and learn from, some great hockey minds,” he added.
Ramsay will be charged with reporting back to Dennis on OJHL talent, while also working with the Battalion’s pool of prospects. This is good news for the Huskies, as it means Haliburton County will likely be the first stop for talented young hockey players with commitments to the Battalion who haven’t yet cracked the roster.
“It’s a great opportunity – we could get a really good kid to come in here at 16, spend a year developing and then go on to play in North Bay, and maybe even get drafted to the NHL. So, I think this will help grow the Huskies program,” Ramsay said.
Asked if this was, potentially, a first step towards leaving the Huskies, Ramsay reaffirmed his commitment to the local program.
“The last two years I’ve had a couple of opportunities to go and be an assistant coach in the OHL, but I haven’t taken them. I’m happy here. I really like what the Huskies are doing. My family is here, my kids are here, I love this community. At this time, I’m not looking to leave,” he said.
His primary goal is to bring an OJHL championship to the Highlands. He believes this arrangement with the Battalion will help with that goal.
“It shows that people are taking notice. It’s been two great years since we moved the franchise north. [Owner] Paul Wilson has done a wonderful job putting us on the hockey map, and I’ve been fortunate to work with some fantastic young players,” Ramsay said. “If we’re being honest, we didn’t think it would have gone this well when we first started. Now, I just want to build on everything we’ve already accomplished and win a championship here. That’s the dream.”