After scoring seven goals in the 2016 Kontinental Hockey League All-Star Game, Duncan’s Matt Ellison will be returning to the big game this season.
The 33-year-old Ellison, in his second season with Dinamo Minsk, was among 16 players voted into the all-star game by fans. Only two forwards in the Bobrov Division received more votes than Ellison’s 2,431: former NHL stars Pavel Datsyuk (3,810) and Ilya Kovalchuk (3,454).
Ellison has 13 goals and 20 assists in 38 games for Minsk this season and is once again among the top scorers in the KHL. With 318 points in 406 games over nine seasons, Ellison is seventh in all-time scoring in the league.
Ellison has also caught the eye of some hockey analysts with his play in recent years. After helping Canada to a second-place finish behind Slovakia at the 2016 Deutschland Cup in Augsburg, Germany in November, Ellison and former Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Geoff Kinrade, also now playing in the KHL, were named to a mock “Plan B” Olympic roster by CBC Sports.
Columnist Tim Wharnsby recruited an unnamed Canadian coach in Europe and two NHL pro scouts to help construct a list of players who should be given consideration for the 2018 Olympic roster if NHL players are unavailable for the games, which remains to be decided. Ellison was honoured to make the list, but recognized that it’s very much up in the air.
“It’s a long way away still and the NHL has time to sort out what needs to be sorted out, but to be put in the conversation for something like this is amazing,” he said. “Every Canadian dreams of wearing a Canada jersey in whatever tournament they can. I’ve had the chance twice now, and both times it was the same feeling: very excited and [I could] barely control the smile and emotion of representing my country.
“To be on the radar, I guess you would say, is an awesome feeling and I just hope I can continue to play well, and if it comes to it, have the chance to represent Canada again, putting that Canadian jersey on no matter what tournament you play in is an ultimate honour.”