Canucks Nab Islander

Saturday, 23.06.2007 / 5:10 PM / Features
Vancouver Canucks
By: Mark Janzen

The Vancouver Canucks are having a homecoming party for their second round selection and their guest couldn’t be more excited. For Taylor Ellington, being selected by the Vancouver Canucks with the 33rd overall pick was truly a dream come true.

Ellington, a Victoria, B.C. native who played for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL this past season, has been cheering on the Canucks since he was a kid. He couldn’t have imagined the Canucks were such big fans of him.

“I’m a defensive defenseman [and] I bring a physical edge,” said the 6-foot, 200 pound defenseman who resembles a young Willie Mitchell. “I’m working on my two-way game. I think I have offense and I need to work on it this summer.”

Central Scouting said he has “good coverage and gap control” and is “able to jump up into the rush and is good one-on-one.” Although the gritty defenseman who notched 13 points in 60 games this year is likely a few years from filling a Vancouver roster spot, the long-time Canucks fan plans to do everything he can to fulfill his boyhood dream.

“It’s going to be a long process and I’m ready for that. All I can do is work my hardest and train my hardest. It’s a step up. They’re men up there,” Ellington said. “I was always a Canucks fan. You grow up idolizing Pavel Bure, Cliff Ronning, Trevor Linden. It’s an honour right now. I’m in awe.”

While he knows there is much work to do before he can skate in the big show, getting selected in the second round was a huge step in what has been a long journey since he first took to the ice at age two.

“I started banging the ball around when I was one or two. I was playing street hockey and was on my roller blades at four,” he said. The18-year-old played his early hockey with the Saanich Braves and later the Peninsula Panthers of the Vancouver Island junior-B league. Since leaving Vancouver Island for Everett, he has participated in the 2007 CHL Top Prospects game and played for Team WHL in the 2006 Canada-Russia Challenge.

Much of his inspiration and competitive drive that has brought him to this level developed throughout his childhood. He would often scrap with older brother Spencer, and lose. Spencer, who was just being a good older brother, is now suffering from a broken blood vessel, which has forced him into a wheelchair for the past two years.

“It’s because of him [that I’m here]. He made me compete all the time. He used to beat me up all the time,” said the younger Ellington of his 20-year-old brother. “It’s amazing to watch what he’s going through and how positive he is all the time.”

Despite very little movement in his legs, Taylor is optimistic his older brother will continue to inspire and will fight through this.

Everett teammate and first-round pick of the Boston Bruins Zach Hamill has known the Ellington family for years and had nothing but great things to say about both Spencer and Taylor.

“They’re a first class family. His brother’s thing was definitely an influence not just on him but me and my parents. We’re close to their family. [Ellington] is unbelievable. He’s a warm-hearted guy. He’s like a teddy bear. He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He’s a quiet leader and a good guy off the ice. You can’t say a bad thing about him.”

Hockey Profile: Completed his third season with the Silvertips, helping them to their best ever regular-season… posted 13 points (5-8-13) and a plus-five rating this season… participated in the 2007 CHL Top Prospects Game… was a member of Team WHL in the two-game Canada-Russia Challenge in 2006… named as the Silvertips Most Improved Player in 2004-05.

Personal Profile: Nickname is Elli… patterns his game after Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames because he is a “physical defenseman that moves the puck well”… admires his brother “because he has gone through a lot of adversity and still is always positive”… most memorable hockey game watched: the 2002 Olympic gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada… most memorable hockey game played: Canada-Russia Challenge in 2006 with Team WHL “because it was such an honor to play”… if he could have dinner with any three people he would choose: Elvis Presley, Will Ferrell and Mario Lemieux… favorites include: three (number), “back hand toe drag” (shootout move), Vancouver Canucks (NHL team), Chris Pronger (NHL player), Family Guy (TV show), Brave Heart (movie), Will Ferrell (actor), Elisha Cuthbert (actress), Jack Johnson and Garth Brooks (musicians) and Super Mario (video game).