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Thrashers to name Craig Ramsay new head coach

The Sports Network

6/23/2010 11:32:24 PM

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - The Atlanta Thrashers have named Craig Ramsay their next head coach.

Ramsay was an assistant coach for Boston the last three seasons and before that as associate head coach with the Lightning for five years where he helped guide the franchise to a Southeast Division title and Stanley Cup championship in 2003-04.

The 59-year-old has served head coaching stints with Buffalo and Philadelphia. He took over behind the Flyer bench on an interim basis in 2000 and led the team to a 16-8-1 mark while claiming the Atlantic Division title. The Flyers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to eventual Cup champion New Jersey in seven games. He stayed on as bench boss for the 2000-01 campaign but was fired 28 games in after a 12-12-4 start.

Ramsay began his NHL coaching tenure with the Buffalo Sabres in 1986-87 as an assistant and took over as interim head coach late in the year, posting a 25-37-6 record. He also served as the team's director of player personnel and assistant general manager before logging assistant coaching stints with Florida (1993-95), Ottawa (1996-98) and Philadelphia (1998-2000).

"Craig is very well-respected in the hockey community and we're excited to add a coach of his caliber to our organization," said Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley. "He is widely regarded as an excellent teacher and he is the right choice to help further develop our team and lead us to our ultimate goal."

John Anderson was fired as head coach in April in a management shuffle that also saw Don Waddell promoted to president and Rick Dudley to the general manager's position.

Atlanta finished 10th overall in the Eastern Conference this past season with a mark of 35-34-13.

Ramsay played 14 seasons in the NHL for Buffalo from 1971-1985, posting 252 goals and 420 assists in 1,070 career games primarily as a left winger. He tallied eight straight 20-goal seasons for the Sabres from 1973-1981 and appeared in playoff games where he amassed 17 goals and 31 assists.

The Atlanta Journal-Consitution had earlier reported Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti could also join the staff as an associate head coach, although no such announcement was made Thursday. Torchetti was rumored to be the other leading candidate for the job.