Ron Ellis

Ron EllisRon Ellis combined skill and sporting play throughout his hockey career. Ron spent his entire 15-year NHL tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he became one of the most respected individuals to ever wear the “blue and white”. He totaled 350 regular season and playoff goals and was a key member of the Leafs’ 1966-67 Stanley Cup winning squad. Ron also distinguished himself on the international stage with Team Canada at the 1972 Summit Series and the 1977 World Championships.

Born in Lindsay, Ontario on January 8, 1945, Ron played his minor hockey in Toronto and Ottawa before joining the Toronto Marlboros Junior B team for a season. He graduated to the Marlies’ A team where he prepared for the NHL for three years. This team captured Canadian junior hockey’s ultimate prize in 1962-63 by winning the Memorial Cup.

Vintage RonRon enjoyed a highly successful rookie season in 1964-65 with 23 goals in 62 games. He scored 19 times in his sophomore campaign before running off a Maple Leafs’ record ten consecutive 20 goal seasons from 1966-67 to 1977-78. This feat was accomplished despite a two-year retirement following the 1974-75 season. Ron’s greatest post-season moment occurred when he scored the crucial opening goal of the Cup clinching the sixth game of the 1967 finals. His chief characteristics as a player was his excellent speed combined with a good shot and a willingness to work hard at both ends of the rink. Ron often set an example for his teammates and was an encouraging figure in the dressing room.

Ron’s greatest individual honour occurred prior to the 1968-69 season when former Maple Leafs star Irvine “Ace” Bailey brought his “number 6” out of retirement in order that he could wear it.

Bailey was one of the classiest and most popular players in Toronto history making this honour all the more special for Ron.

One of the most unforgettable squads in Canadian history was Team Canada ’72. Ron Ellis played a significant role on this team with line mates Bobby Clarke and Paul Henderson. His speed and fitness made him an invaluable defensive force against the quick Soviet forwards. Ron also contributed three assists while playing in all 8 games of the series.

During the spring of 1977, Ron played a prominent role with Team Canada at the World Championships following nearly two full seasons of being out of pro hockey. His strong play and camaraderie of the team rekindled Ron’s passion for playing in the NHL. He returned for another 3 and a half seasons and in the process topped the 300 goal and 600 point marks. He also received a milestone award from the NHL after playing in his 1,000th career game.

Ron with Team CanadaIn 1992, he was offered the position of Director of Public Relations and Assistant to the President for the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. His role was to develop the education program and the grassroots hockey – creating awareness through the Greater Toronto Hockey League and getting minor hockey teams to participate. He was instrumental in developing and selling the educational program. Today, he wears several hats for the Hockey Hall of fame, from NHL Alumni to Team Canada ’72 to his involvement with the Toronto Maple Leaf organization.

Recently, Ron became involved in forming “The Ron Ellis Team Canada Foundation” to give him the opportunity to be involved in fundraising ventures and allow him to know exactly where the funds are designated. The Foundation designates funds to several charities, including children’s charities and those addressing life threatening diseases. The Foundation has funded a specific Canadian cancer research project conducted at a Canadian facility, by Canadian researchers. Currently, the Foundation is supporting Touchstone Youth Centre, Teen Ranch and other children’s charities.

The Ron Ellis Team Canada Foundation is “helping make the world’s dreams come true, one step at a time”.