Ron Ellis’s remarkable accomplishments on the ice are equalled by even bigger challenges and success off the ice!

Phil Esposito played the best period of hockey that anyone ever has under the circumstances.
— RON ELLIS

Ron Ellis is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. Ellis played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ron won the Stanley Cup in 1967, and played an extremely important role in the famed 1972 Summit Series against the Russian National team, deemed by many as the most exciting and pivotal series of our generation. After playing hockey, Ron went into business and later joined the staff of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

This interview was a personal highlight for me. Growing up a huge Toronto Maple Leaf fan and having witnessed the last Leaf win in 67’, it was a thrill to relieve the details and hear firsthand from Ron on what transpired. And as a huge Team Canada fan of 72’ I sort of felt I’d seen it all and heard it all about that series, but while speaking to Ellis, I found myself getting goose-bumps as he spoke of the mood in the dressing room and on the ice in the lead up to the final goal and win for Team Canada.

As I mention in the opening to the interview, Ron’s life could seem like he has or had everything with regards to success. But despite these incredible achievements on the ice, Ron faced many personal hardships off the ice with depression after his retirement. His perspective on life after hockey and his dedication to continue to grow, really rounds out the remarkable person that Ron Ellis is.  

Noteworthy Questions Asked:

  • What separated Ron from his peer group at a young age? (5:15)
  • What’s one piece of advice Ron would give to a young, up-and-coming athlete? (8:42)
  • What’s the absolute best thing about being a Toronto Maple Leaf? (10:01)
  • Does Ron have any regrets - experiencing so much success at a such a young age? (32:45)
  • Shortly after retiring (1981-1991), Ron experienced a dark emotional period. Why? (55:45)
  • What role did faith play in Ron’s emotional and physical wellbeing? (18:55)

In This Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • The importance of listening and mentoring from others to achieve your goals (being coached under the infamous Punch Imlach)
  • How a support system is invaluable when faced with adversity (for Ron, this was retirement and depression)
  • How remaining professional is equally as challenging as the path to professional athleticism
  • The unique experience of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Team Canada at the height of Canadian hockey’s stardom and greatness (Stanley Cup 1967; Team Canada 1972)

The Takeaway: Hard work and extreme effort get you to the top, but life begins when you jump over the boards and start to live!

Keep Crushing it Canada,
Dave Morris, Host