Right winger Ron Ellis was a fine forward with the Toronto Maple
Leafs for 15 years. His trademarks were his consistency and work ethic more so
than his flash. His all-around game made him an obvious inclusion on Team Canada
It has been well document how cocky and confident Canada was
during the times before game one, and Ellis was one of the few who cautioned the
nation. He too felt they would be very successful and win the series handily, but he was especially
concerned about game one. Ellis was one of the few players on the team who had
experience playing against the Soviets. Back in his days in junior hockey
Ellis was included in an all star team that took on the Soviets. The Soviets embarrassed
that team much like they would embarrass Team Canada in game of the Summit
Ellis ended up on the right side of what was arguably Canada's
top line - Ellis with Bobby Clarke and Paul Henderson. Ellis had the unenviable
task of shadowing the Soviets' flashiest star - Valeri Kharlamov. Ellis - who
often faced the top wingers in the NHL during his long tenure - would later
admit that Kharlamov was as great a player as any NHLer he had to defend
against, including the legendary Bobby Hull.
Ron Ellis has an odd memory from the tournament which haunts him
to this day. He took a minor penalty late in game 6 with Canada clinging to a
slim 1 goal lead. Ellis - the consummate professional - prides himself in the
fact that he was dependable and would never harm his team by taking a penalty
late in a game. He called that penalty "the longest two minutes of my
life," and that memory comes to him as much as the dramatics of Paul
Henderson late in game 8.
Ellis regained his pride when he was one of the players chosen
to hold on to the lead Henderson gave them with 34 seconds left in the series.
Coach Harry Sinden put out a mixed line of Ellis, Phil Esposito and Pete
Mahovlich to stave off any Russian comeback attempts.