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I'm pretty geeked out about this one, folks. This guy here has really wormed his way into my heart in recent weeks and I'm so excited to share him with you! :)
+ Rammer here is the baby of the team; he was 18 during team tryouts and 19 in Lake Placid, almost a full year younger than anyone else. This makes him the youngest member of what was, at the time, the youngest U.S. Olympic hockey team ever! He himself thought he was too young to make the team, but talent speaks for itself: in high school he was a state tennis champion, an All-City football player, and the best hockey defenseman in the state -- he had college coaches "frothing at the mouth.". He was an "effervescent manchild," big, powerful, intelligent, and full of energy.
+ Rammer spent his freshman year of college at the University of Minnesota, and was recruited there by Herb Brooks. He never even visited or considered going to any other school, which made University of Wisconsin head coach Bob Johnson (who was Herb's bitter rival) exceedingly angry. But he'd grown up attending Gopher games and had his heart set on making that team pretty much since day one. Rammer started the season on the junior varsity team, but by the end of the season he was a starting defenseman for the varsity squad that won the NCAA national championship. Seriously, he was that good.
+ A whole lot of American hockey history was made with this guy at the 1979 NHL Draft, when he was the first ever American to be picked in the first round (11th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres). Herb liked to poke fun at him for this by calling him an 18-year-old prima donna. :) (And when Rammer decided to be a wise-guy and ask what he'd be the next year, Herb said he'd be a 19-year-old prima donna. Hah.)
+ Last week I mentioned that Ken Morrow was the Olympic team's defensive stalwart, always in position. Well, Rammer was sort of Ken's antithesis (which basically made them the perfect blueline duo). Rammer had "a man's body melded to a child's enthusiasm" and never wanted to be out of the action, which meant he was often chasing opponents into corners instead of stationing himself in front of the net. (He wasn't afraid of a hard check or the occasional scuffle, either.) During the pre-Olympic season Rammer was the highest-scoring defenseman, with 11 goals and 22 assists (33 points) in 55 games, and he netted two assists in the Olympics.
+ Rammer signed with the Sabres almost immediately after the Olympics. He ended up having one of the most successful NHL careers of all of his Olympic teammates, playing in the league for 17 years. Thirteen of those years were spent in Buffalo, where he became team captain and played in the NHL All-Star Game four times. After he retired, he spent 13 years as an assistant coach (three years with the Sabres and 10 with the Minnesota Wild) before he retired in 2010. And now his kids are following in his footsteps! One of his daughters is a defenseman for the University of Minnesota, and his son was just drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks. Quite the family legacy!
Also, I feel the need to point out...
Regrettably, there aren't many good interviews with Rammer to be found (visually, at least), so I leave you with a video of him stopping the end-to-end rush of some random dude named Wayne Gretzky. Maybe you've heard of him?