While the Virden Oil Capitals will certainly have speed and skill when they take the ice next season, new head coach Tyson Ramsey also expects them to be competitors.
Ramsey, who served as an assistant coach last season, was named as the team’s head coach and general manager last week. When asked how he would like the Manitoba Junior Hockey League team to play, Ramsey said, “It is fully evident to me that you have to have a group that competes hard – not just in games, but in practices, in workouts …”
Second-year Oil Caps forward Brett Paddock was coached by Ramsey last season and when he was with the Brandon midget AAA Wheat Kings.
“His coaching style involves a great deal of compete and commitment from his players,” Paddock said. “If you give him that, the team will succeed, and he will always be the first one to give gratitude when that happens. He is undoubtedly the man for the job.”
And what about playing style? If you look at hockey teams that have won championships recently, Ramsey said, “It’s teams that have played a heavy game but have some speed and skill to go along with it.”
The new Oil Caps bench boss is pleased with the group of players eligible to return from a team that went to the second round of the playoffs. Top scorer Kolten Kanaski and third-leading scorer Hunter Cloutier as well as strong defenceman Jayden Wojciechowski are just some of the many players eligible to return.
Both goaltenders Dalton Dosch and Oak Lake’s Riley Wallace are expected back. Ramsey said he is looking forward to seeing what strides the returning group can take over the summer.
As well, he is excited about the new players coming in.
“Our scouting staff has done a great job with our list and identifying prospects,” Ramsey said.
Since his hiring was announced, Ramsey, a teacher at Brandon’s Riverheights School, has been busy getting in touch with returning players and Oil Caps prospects. He has also been working with head scout Brian Elder and other members of the organization in preparation for this Sunday’s MJHL Bantam Draft.
“Our philosophy as an organization is to develop through the draft and have a good prospect list.”
Ramsey has coached at various levels. He was with the midget AAA Wheat Kings for seven seasons, including four as the head coach, and led the female Westman Wildcats bantam AAA team for two years.
Many of Ramsey’s players have gone on to play at a higher level. He believes strongly in player development. For example, Paddock played for Ramsey as a 15-year-old on the then-midget AAA Wheat Kings.
“To be honest, I had no reason being on that team,” the player said. “However, he coached me through it and gave me the opportunities I needed to compete in that league.”
Ramsey said it’s the job of junior hockey to help players move on to the next step – whether on or off the ice.
He’s looking forward to a bigger role with the Oil Capitals after serving as an assistant coach and scout in the past. When asked what he enjoys about the Oil Caps organization, Ramsey said, “Just the organization as a whole. I think it is first class. Everyone involved cares about the organization and bringing a championship to Virden. … The support from the fans and the corporate partners is amazing.”
Jamie Hodson, Virden’s director of business and hockey operations, said the organization was “a little overwhelmed” by the applications for the head coach and general manager position. He said a number of quality applications were received from across Canada and the United States.
“For Tyson to come out at the end is just a tribute to Tyson as an individual and a coach and a guy that we see can lead this team off the ice,” Hodson said. “It’s really a win for everybody involved and the organization. You come out of the wash with a guy who has been a part of your team for two seasons. … Somebody who is local and someone who has the utmost amount of respect in the hockey world in Manitoba.”
Hodson pointed to Ramsey’s work ethic, character, and values as factors in the decision.