Being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks was a confidence booster for Jack Ramsey.
Attending the Blackhawks development camp in the summer gave the Penticton Vees assistant captain an added injection of self assurance.
“It was eye-opening down there,” said Ramsey, who scored two goals and added an assist as the Vees rolled over the Merritt Centennials 8-1 in their final exhibition game Sunday at the South Okanagan Events Centre. “It was a really good experience for me.
“Playing with players that are a lot older than me, they have so much wisdom,” said Ramsey. “I know I’m only going into my second year of juniors. Some of those guys have played in the American Hockey League. Playing with those guys was huge.”
It didn’t take Ramsey long to notice how quick players made their plays. It just took him a few practices to get his feet under him.
“The game was real quick. The faster it gets the more exciting it gets,” said Ramsey, drafted 208th overall in the seventh round.
He also gained knowledge from the Blackhawks’ coaching staff.
“I picked up some things hockey-sense wise,” he said, adding that he can pass what he learned on to his Vees teammates. “I can see the game better.”
Against the Centennials, Ramsey seemed to play with more patience and took time to create space to make the right plays.
Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson said Ramsey had a great summer and he sees the confidence Ramsey has from being drafted.
“Going to their camp and doing well there, its carried over,” said Harbinson.
With the season starting Friday in Chilliwack at the BCHL Bauer Showcase, Ramsey wants to continue playing his two-way game, but increase his offensive output. As a rookie last season, he scored nine goals and finished with 25 points in 57 regular season games. Ramsey is also hoping the 15 pounds he’s added to his 6-3 frame (listed on the BCHL website at 191 pounds) will make him more physically imposing.
What excites him about the season is the group the Vees have.
“We have a really skilled group. A really determined group too,” said Ramsey. “We have a good D-core. Great goalies coming back. We have a lot of young kids, but they can definitely hold their own so I’m excited to watch them play.”
In the win against the Centennials, Ramsey liked that the Vees played a hard, complete game for 60 minutes. He said that is their focus this year.
What impressed Harbinson about his players’ performance was their transition game.
“As soon as pucks were on our stick, we were moving into the right areas,” said Harbinson, adding that the coaching staff challenged the players to be aggressive.”We were getting going towards their net in a hurry.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Vees trimmed their roster down to 22 by trading forward Neil Robinson to the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations.