Former player named new head coach of men's hockey team
Jamie Ramer's hockey career is coming full circle.
© submitted photo
Jamie Ramer, centre, coaches at a Hockey Ministries International camp in Waterloo, Ont.
Briercrest College and Seminary named Ramer as their new men's hockey coach Monday afternoon. The 38-year-old played his college hockey with the Clippers in the late-90s and is excited for the opportunity to return.
"I'm excited to bring everything I've learned from all of the various coaching and playing experiences to (Briercrest)," said Ramer.
Ramer is replacing interim head coach Lloyd Friesen who led the Clippers to a 4-26 record a season ago in the ACAC. That was an improvement upon their 1-27 mark from 2012-13.
"I know the situation and the challenges that exist," said Ramer. "I don't come in with big ideas that everything will go to where I want to see it go overnight. I believe that over time, and after earning the trust of the players and the program, we can have some success on the ice as well as off. It's going to be a challenge and looking forward to it."
Ramer played five years with the Clippers from 1994-2000. Not only is he reuniting with his old school, but he's also reuniting — in a sense — with his old linemate Nigel Mullan.
“I am thrilled with Jamie being added to our program as we are adding a quality person that has a great understanding of what we are trying to accomplish with our hockey program,” Mullan, Briercrest College's athletic director, said in a release. “Jamie has the skill set to care for the individuals and to help them feel valued as they look to contribute to the team. I am confident that Jamie will take his time and make sure every aspect of the program is running in the direction that we are looking for. I am excited that we have a coach coming in here that wants to see a championship won by players that are living out our purpose as followers of Jesus Christ.”
After his time with the Clippers, Ramer spent three seasons playing Division 2 hockey in Sweden while also being part of Hockey Ministries International. He has continued his work with HMI since returning home to Zurich, Ont. at the end of 2003.
He said his time at Briercrest had a big impact on him and allowed him to move on to some exciting experiences with HMI.
“It was the Briercrest coach – John Bechtold – who really helped me to connect my faith to the game of hockey,” Ramer explained. “He also believed in my abilities and helped me to grow as a player. In my second year as a Clipper we took a hockey missions trip to Sweden through Hockey Ministries International. God used that trip in a profound way in our team and in my life as I saw for the first time ways that I could combine my faith with my passion for the game. It has been quite the journey ever since and it seems as it has come full circle again.”
Ramer coached his Swedish club's junior team and has spent many years instructing at HMI’s summer hockey camps and as a power skating instructor. He has also been working and coaching in his local minor hockey association. That is in addition to work he's done overseeing and growing HMI's chapel ministry presence in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) as well as with teams in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Ontario Hockey Association (OHA).
Ramer said he is looking forward to having "excellence on and off the ice" during his tenure coaching the Clippers.
"I think I have a good awareness of what kind of character players and what sort of skill level that we'll need to not only compete, but to win," said Ramer who felt that his experience with the Clippers, even when they struggled, helped make him better. "I also know that having experienced it and having had the opportunity to play there I learned a lot as a player facing teams — at times — who were much better than us."
Ramer is looking to develop a network through various alumni and other people who believe in the program to help develop the program. His first priority is spending time with his returning players.
"Obviously my first conversations are with the current team and getting to know them in deeper way," he said.
Ramer said he has a passion to equip and prepare players to engage in the world. He wants to help them develop and grow as people and as hockey players.
“I desire players who want to be a part of ‘Clipper Nation’ and willing to play their role in seeing it succeed. It will involve commitment, a willingness to grow and sacrifice but it will be worth it,” he said.
Ramer's wife Lea Anne is a Briercrest College alumnus. They and their three children — Brody, Payton and Kaybrie — are looking to move to Caronport in the spring.