Whole generations will remember. Craig Ramsay celebrates his fifth anniversary on the bench of Slovakia

today 16:15

On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, exactly five years have passed since general manager Miroslav Šatan officially announced that the experienced Canadian Craig Ramsay is becoming the new coach of the Slovak hockey team.

SPORT.sk has prepared for you on this occasion a list of the most important moments that our national team experienced under the leadership of the charismatic native of Toronto.


Craig Ramsay’s first game on the bench of our national team turned out to be excellent, when we beat our neighbors from the Czech Republic by 2:0 in the federal derby on August 23, 2017. In Třinac, the pair of Paulovič and Svitana took care of the goals.

“We still have a lot of work to do. I have to praise the cooperation of my assistants, they helped me a lot,” said Craig Ramsay after his winning debut.

Photo gallery

Ľubomír Višňovský, Michal Handzuš and Craig Ramsay are happy with the victory over the Czech Republic.

Source: TASR


Craig Ramsay’s first major tournament as the head coach of the Slovak national team was the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which took place at the beginning of 2018. Our entry into the tournament was excellent when they defeated the Russians 3:2. This victory is one of the most memorable triumphs of the Canadian coach on the bench of our national team.

But the rest of the Olympic tournament was not so successful. Close losses in the group with the USA and Slovenia followed, while in the fight for the quarter-finals we lost again to the USA, this time with a ratio of 1:5.

Photo gallery

Slovak ice hockey players scored a valuable victory over Russia in the first match at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Source: TASR


Among the most important moments of Craig Ramsay’s coaching career, we must also include the domestic WC in 2019, which took place in Slovakia in Košice and Bratislava.

At first it all looked great, when we successively beat Denmark, Great Britain and France in the first three duels. We also had a good start to the match against Germany, in which we still led 2:1 two minutes before the end.

However, in the end, due to the two conceded goals in the final seconds of the match, we lost 2:3 in regular time and did not get a single point in the table. It was this match that marked a big drop in morale in the cabin.

Another duel with Canada, in which we scored a decisive goal just two seconds before the final siren, did not add to the boys’ well-being. A well-started tournament quickly turned into a disaster when, despite a win over the United States, we failed to make it to the quarterfinals.

Photo gallery

Slovak players in the Steel Arena before the match with Germany.

Source: SITA


After the WC in hockey in 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, all hockey fans were already looking forward to its continuation in 2021. For Craig Ramsay, it was the third WC in the position of head coach of the Slovak national team, and it was in 2021. when he managed to cross the threshold of the quarterfinals for the first time. In the fight to advance to the semi-finals, however, we were not enough for the United States, to whom we lost 1:6.

Among the most memorable matches of the past calendar year is certainly the victory over Russia, which sent our hockey players among the eight best teams in the world. At the same time, at last year’s WC, the Slovak national team led by Craig Ramsay suffered its biggest loss – 1:8 against Switzerland. The championship in Riga, Latvia brought several positive, but also negative moments for Slovak hockey.

Photo gallery

The American hockey players are happy about the goal against Slovakia in the quarter-finals of the World Cup 2021.

Source: TASR


Slovakia did not have a certain participation in the Olympics in Beijing. Craig Ramsay’s men had to win their place in the August qualification, which took place in Bratislava. We finally managed the role of favorite at home when we won all three matches against Austria, Belarus and Poland.

Craig Ramsay thus added another success to his account, but in this case it was more of an obligation. However, after the successful campaign in August, no one had any idea how much success awaits our representation in distant Beijing in the spring. The best was yet to come.

Photo gallery

Photo from the qualification match for the 2022 Olympics between Slovakia and Belarus.

Source: TASR


Craig Ramsay experienced several beautiful moments on the bench of the Slovak hockey team, but probably nothing will beat the bronze Olympic medals that our hockey players won on Chinese soil. What the team around Pavel Demitra failed to do in Vancouver in 2010, Craig Ramsay’s men did 12 years later.

They first defeated the United States in the quarterfinals, and only the Finns were able to stop them in the semifinals. After the painful loss to “Suomi”, however, the Slovak hockey players got together quickly and in the fight for the bronze they decisively defeated the Swedes with a ratio of 4:0. The first Slovakian hockey medal at the Winter Olympics was thus won, and the lion’s share of it was an at first glance inconspicuous guy from Canada.

Photo gallery

Craig Ramsay and his wards celebrate winning bronze medals in Bratislava.

Source: TASR


After the successful Olympics, hockey fans in Slovakia had high expectations for this year’s WC. In the basic group, we managed to collect 12 points for four victories in regular time, which was finally enough for us to advance to the quarterfinals.

In it, however, we ran into an unpopular opponent – Finland, which also won its group. “Suomi” were the clear favorites, but our players surprised them right from the beginning of the match with an extremely active game and high attacking, which celebrated success.

In the first period, we even built a two-goal lead, but even that was not enough to advance to the semi-finals. The home Finns then switched to higher gears and won 4:2. However, Craig Ramsay’s men left a good impression on the tournament in the final showdown.

Photo gallery

Slovak hockey players say goodbye to the spectators after the quarter-final loss to Finland.

Source: TASR


Craig Ramsay’s achievements include this year’s historic NHL draft. Juraj Slafkovský became a draft pick in Montreal, while Nitra defender Šimon Nemec followed him from second place. Never in history have we had hockey players drafted higher. Marián Gáborík’s record finally fell after 22 long years.

However, it was the experienced Canadian who gave these young players their first chance to play senior hockey at the highest level. Most likely, it was Juraj Slafkovský’s performances at the Winter Olympics that secured him a position as a draft unit.

Craig Ramsay wasn’t afraid to take risks and only included juniors in the men’s national team. Some even had to carry a basket during their debut, as they were under the age of eighteen. The fact is that experience from national team tournaments has pushed our young talents forward and secured them the attention of overseas scouts.

Juraj Slafkovský himself in an interview for Sport daily to the question of what share Craig Ramsay has in his draft position, he answered as follows: “Huge, maybe even one of the biggest. He gave me space to play my hockey. Under his leadership, I sold the most.”

Read also

Juraj Slafkovský: Craig Ramsay has a huge share of the first place, I am below him…

Photo gallery

Juraj Slafkovský and national team coach Craig Ramsay during training of the Slovak national hockey team

Source: TASR


The most visible difference that Craig Ramsay brought with him to Slovakia is a complete change in the style of play. The Canadian expert does not want his charges to just wait for the opponent on the blue line and defend. On the contrary, he expects high attacking, active skating and support of the attack from the defenders.

Hockey is played primarily for the fans and they have responded very positively to the changes Craig Ramsay has introduced over the past five years. We no longer play boring and waiting hockey like before. On the contrary, and even if we lose, the game can always be watched.

“He came and showed us a new path that a lot of players didn’t know or didn’t want to follow that much. He has done a lot and we are very grateful to him for that.” said the captain of the bronze Olympic team, Marek Hrivík.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.