John Ramage Talks About His Decision To Return To Wisconsin

BUFFALO NY - DECEMBER 26: Defenseman John Ramage #5 of USA keeps the puck away from forward Toni Rajala #25 of Finland during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship game between USA and Finland on December 26 2010 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Yesterday in a tweet Wisconsin hockey captain John Ramage told me that he planned to return to Madison for his final season of eligibility with the Badger hockey program.

Today Ramage joined the voice of the Badgers, Brian Posick on his afternoon radio show on the Big 1070 in Madison to talk about the process.

A fourth round draft pick of the NHL's Calgary Flames, Ramage talked with Posick about his decision to return to the Badgers. Ramage mentioned a number of reasons, including the new LaBahn arena practice facility.

Ramage also talked about the expectations at Wisconsin, and what he thinks about the Badgers chances at making some positive noise next season.

The following is the audio, as well as the transcript of their conversation.

NOTE: Fast forward to 5:30 of the audio for John Ramage.

Brian Posick: So you tweet the news that you're coming back yesterday. I'm sure you told coach Eaves first before you sent the tweet right?

John Ramage: "Oh yeah definitely I didn't want anyone to know. But once I knew, I let the news out."

Posick: So, tell us about this decision, why you decided to come back? And trust me, I'm glad you're coming back, and Badger fans are too, but tell us about the decision process here.

Ramage: "After the season it was looking at where I was personally, and just looking at different things that go into making the decision. And I think the things that caught my eye the most were just the things that wanted me to bring it back to Wisconsin. I think coming back to Wisconsin, we're going to have the new practice facility that is going to be unbelievable. And whenever you're coming back to coach Eaves, you know you're going to get good development as a player."

Posick: And you're also through your junior year academically too, so you're even closer to graduating which I'm sure is very important to you and your family.

Ramage: "Yeah definitely, anytime you can get a college degree is important in this day and age."

Posick: John Ramage was a 4th round NHL Draft pick of the Calgary Flames, how much were they involved in this decision John?

Ramage: "They were there all along, guiding me along. But in the end I really felt like coming back to Wisconsin was the right thing to do and I made my decision."

Posick: I know last year as a team captain there was a lot on your plate, and unfortunately the Badgers didn't make it to the NCAA tournament. But boy I tell ya, with the players you have coming back, with or without Justin Schultz, next year's Badgers squad is going to be pretty good don't you think?

Ramage: "Yeah, and I think that was a big factor in making my decision, knowing where we're going to be as a team next year and knowing with high expectations going into the season, I'm really excited for next year to see what we can do."

Posick: John how frustrating was it for you personally, and as a team not to accomplish the goals you had set forth?

Ramage: "You know, it was pretty frustrating. Being at Wisconsin we do have high expectations for ourselves. I think after my freshman year going to the Frozen Four and kind of getting that culture built into you right away, and then the following two seasons have not been as really where we'd like to be. To come back for a final year and to really see the goal and to know that it's very reachable this year, I think that's something I definitely look forward too."

Posick: Why do you think it's reachable this year, and maybe not the last couple of years?

Ramage: "Well I think we've had young teams in the past. Over the past two years we've had a big number of recruits come in, being the freshman and sophomore class. Now they've have experience, and experience is huge in college hockey. And I think with that experience it gives us a lot of depth that we haven't had in the past couple of years."

Posick: And with all that youth too, there was the turnover because a number of players left early to turn pro. That doesn't help, does it?

Ramage: "No, no, not at all. I mean, you see a guy like Craig Smith who's in Nashville right now. He had to make the decision at the same time and he's a guy that can put up 50 points up in the NHL, could definitely help you in college too."

Posic: Somewhere along the line you'll get to the National Hockey League right?

Ramage: "Yeah, that's the hope."

Posick: Well, be patient. And you're coming back and that's a good thing. And everyone wants to know, is there any chance that Justin Schultz could come back for his senior season? Have you had a chance to talk with him, and maybe chew his ear a little bit?

Ramage: "You know, I wish I could tell you. There's always a chance you know, because he hasn't made his final decision yet. But, there's always a chance. It might be a slimmer chance, but it's still a chance so you just have to sit back and wait and see what happens."

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For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Chuck on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz)

Chuck can also be reached via e-mail at chuckschwartz@live.com

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