© Photo courtesy of Colin Peddle/St. John’s IceCaps
Morgan Ellis in action with the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League.
ALBERTON - It started with the customary, 'What are you doing; what's the weather?' type of greeting.
Then, a couple minutes into the conversation, Morgan Ellis got to the reason for his late-night call to his father, Glen, on Friday.
The St. John's IceCaps defenceman had just been notified that the parent club, the Montreal Canadiens, had called him up to the National Hockey League, and he wanted his father to be the first to know.
"He was excited about getting the call, for sure," said Glen Ellis back home on the farm in East Bideford, P.E.I., describing the conversation.
Bursting with pride for his son, Glen and his family spent part of Saturday trying to decide whether to make the trip to Montreal for the Canadiens' game that night against Toronto.
In the end, unsure if he would be playing, they stayed home and Morgan was a healthy scratch after arriving in Montreal less than five hours before game time.
"We'd sooner be at a game where he's actually playing," Glen said.
The Canadiens' next home game is not until March 8, when they host the Dallas Stars.
Morgan left with the Canadiens on a four-game West Coast road trip on Sunday.
Reached Saturday morning in Syracuse, N.Y., where he and forward Michael McCarron, were waiting for a connecting flight to Montreal, Morgan said he had read media reports prior to their game that the Canadiens would be calling up a forward and a defenceman.
Earlier in the week there had been an erroneous report that Ellis had been called up, but that was soon retracted. It did, however, create lots of buzz that he was due.
"I couldn't worry about that," he said of the speculation. "All I could do was play hockey."
He was doing his stretches outside of the dressing room following their game when his coach broke the news to him.
"They're obviously happy for me," he said of his IceCaps teammates' reaction.
The Canadiens drafted Ellis in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, 117th overall.
In 56 regular-season games in the American Hockey League with the IceCaps this year, Ellis has 31 points - 12 goals and 19 assists - while registering a plus-8. The six-foot-one and 207-pound Elis, who shoots right, has picked up 45 penalty minutes. He leads his team in plus-minus rating, and participated in his first ever AHL All-Star showcase last month.
Ellis's Facebook page and cellphone blew up with congratulatory messages from family, friends and teammates, past and present, after he got the NHL call.
"People who are proud of me," he said, extending thanks for all their encouragement.
He was particularly eager to acknowledge his parents, Glen and June, for their support over the years.
"How they do what they do, I don't know," he marveled at their sacrifices.