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 1972.
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 Series.
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.
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