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Fifth most-played Maple Leaf Ron Ellis dies at 79

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Photo credit:Twitter/NHL Alumni Association
Zach Laing
1 month ago
Toronto Maple Leafs legend Ron Ellis has died at the age of 79, the NHL’s Alumni Association announced Saturday.
Ellis, who broke into the league with the Leafs in 1965-65, helping win the club’s most recent Stanley Cup in 1967, spent his entire 1,034-game career in Toronto, amassing 332 goals and 640 points. He retired after the 1980-81 season.
He’s among the franchise leaders in each category, ranking fifth in games played, fifth in goals, and seventh in points. A perennial point producer for the Leafs, he scored 20 or more goals in 11 seasons, hitting the 30 goal mark twice.
“Ellis became a key member of the team, and would ultimately earn the highest honour in hockey of winning the Stanley Cup in 1967,” the NHL Alumni Association wrote in a Tweet. “He was also an intricate part of the famed Canadian team in the 1972 Summit Series.
“After his playing days had ended, Ron found a new passion for helping his teammates and NHL Alumni Family. He was always available to lend an ear, his heart and help. Ellis’s contributions philanthropically were global and impactful through his work with many charities and mental health initiatives. He dedicated his life, post hockey, to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and could be found each day smiling while he led guests through the great museum archives proudly.”
This past February, Ellis and the 1967 Leafs were awarded the association’s Keith Magnuson Man of the Year award during the NHL’s All-Star game in Toronto. Ellis as well as Frank Mahovolich were unable to attend.
“We mourn the loss of Ron Ellis, a lifetime Leaf whose legacy is woven into the fabric of the blue and white,” the Leafs said in a statement. “Ron played his entire NHL career for Toronto. He was one of only five Maple Leafs to skate in more than 1,000 games for the club while also scoring the fifth most goals in team history. Ron was a true gentleman of the game who will be deeply missed.”

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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