Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that defenceman Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires is the 2010-11 recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year as voted by the writers and broadcasters that cover the league.
Ellis, who scored 101 points in 58 games with 24 goals and 77 assists became the first defenceman in 17 years to score more than 100 points in a season. He is just the fourth defenceman in the 67-year history of the Red Tilson Trophy to win the award following Brian Campbell (Ottawa, 1999), Bryan Fogarty (Niagara Falls, 1989), and Ron Howell (Guelph, 1956). He is also just the third member of the Windsor Spitfires to win the award and first in 30 years following Ernie Godden in 1981 and Glenn Hall in 1951.
“This is a great honour and very exciting for me,” said Ellis. “The guys who have their names on this trophy have done some great things for hockey. The fans in Windsor have been instrumental to our success over the years and I want to thank everyone for the best four years anyone could ask for.”
The 20-year-old from Freelton, ON, was selected by the Spitfires in the second round, 22 overall in the 2007 OHL Priority Selection. He adds to an already impressive list of OHL awards including the Max Kaminsky Trophy as Defenceman of the Year earned this season as well as in 2008-09. He is a three-time All-Star named twice to the First Team this season and in 2008-09, and was a Second Team All-Star last season. Ellis was also named to the OHL’s All-Rookie team in 2007-08 the same season he was recognized as the Bobby Smith Trophy winner as the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.
“On behalf of the Windsor Spitfires we are very excited for Ryan,” said Spitfires Vice-President and General Manager Warren Rychel. “He leads by example and while his on-ice accolades are clear it is also his character off the ice that has been tremendous and instrumental in helping our younger players with their development this season. He has given so much to the community. It will be tough moving forward without Ryan Ellis but he will be remembered as one of the greatest and one of the players that helped put the Windsor Spitfires on the map.”
A winner throughout his four-year junior career with the Spitfires, the 2009 first round pick of the Nashville Predators captured two OHL and Memorial Cup titles and was named to the MasterCard Memorial Cup All-Star Team in 2009. Internationally, Ellis is the only player in the history of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence to win Gold at each of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2008), IIHF World Under-18 Championship (2008), Memorial of Ivan Hlinka (2008), and the IIHF World Junior Championship (2009). He also earned silver medals with Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship and again in 2011 in Buffalo, NY, when he served as Team Captain and was named Best Defenceman of the tournament setting a new IIHF and Team Canada record for most career-points by a defenceman with 25 in 20 games.
“True and simple Ryan Ellis is a winner,” said Predators President and General Manager David Poile. “I love players that are able to compete in April and in May and Ryan has shown his ability to be one of the best when his teams are competing for a championship. He has had a fabulous junior career, but equally important is how he has conducted himself as not just a special player but a great person.”
With 314 points in 226 career games, Ellis is just the third defenceman in OHL history to record 300 career points and trails only Rick Corriveau who recorded 329 points in 260 games with London and Niagara Falls from 1987-92, and Denis Potvin who recorded 330 in 257 games with the Ottawa 67’s from 1967-73 for career points by an OHL defenceman.
The Red Tilson Trophy is the most prestigious individual award presented by the Ontario Hockey League. Accredited media were asked to select their top three choices from the 20 nominees representing all 20 member clubs. Players received five points for a first place selection, three points for second place and one point for a third place selection.
In the 75 ballots collected, Ellis received 245 points in the voting process and was listed as the number one choice on more than 50% of all ballots. He finishes ahead of Top Scorers Tyler Toffoli of the Ottawa 67’s who received 135 voting points, and Jason Akeson of the Kitchener Rangers who finished in third place with 74 points.
The trophy is named in honour of Albert "Red" Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II. Tilson was the OHA scoring champion for the 1942-43 season after scoring 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points in 22 games with the Oshawa Generals.
Other winners of the Red Tilson Trophy include Frank Mahovlich (Toronto 1957), Mike Foligno (Sudbury, 1979), Doug Gilmour (Cornwall 1983), Eric Lindros (Oshawa 1991), David Legwand (Plymouth 1998), Brad Boyes (Erie 2001 & 2002), Corey Perry (London 2005), and John Tavares (Oshawa 2007), with Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers receiving the award last season.
Ellis will be the OHL’s nominee for the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year Award presented at the CHL Awards Ceremony during the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Mississauga.