EAST BIDEFORD, P.E.I. — Defenceman Morgan Ellis will be taking his professional hockey career to a fourth country in the fall. The Cologne Sharks (Kölner Haien) announced Wednesday they have signed the East Bideford, P.E.I., native for the 2018-19 season. They play in the German Professional Hockey League, the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).
"Morgan Ellis fulfills all the characteristics we've been looking for in his position, he's a right-back defender with experience on the bigger ice, he has a decent size, a good shot, he can also be offensive and he's just 26 years old,” said the team’s sports director, Mark Mahon.
A 2010 Montreal Canadiens’ draft pick, Ellis played three games with the National Hockey League team in 2016. He played in the American Hockey League, first with the Hamilton Bulldogs and then with the St John’s Ice Caps.
After the Canadiens traded him to the St. Louis Blues, Ellis played the 2016-17 season for the Blues’ farm team, the Chicago Wolves.
Last year Ellis moved to the Swedish Professional Hockey League, starting out the year with Skellefteå AIK and finishing off with Färjestad BK.
Ellis committed to the German team last week.
In an interview Wednesday, Ellis admitted he wasn’t happy with the way his season started off.
But following the trade to Färjestad, he said, “I was able to get my game back to where it needed to be.”
Playing European hockey, with the larger ice surface, he admits, was an adjustment.
“You just have more time and space. The players aren’t as big as in North America, so the little guys have a lot more time and speed to really fly. They can really skate, too. You look at any Swedish player in the NHL: they’re all really good skaters. It’s the same way over there.”
Whereas most of the hockey in North America is north-south (end to end), Ellis noted the European ice surface is so large the play moves east-west, too.
“You’ve got to get used to it. You’re going over there playing in their league, so you have to adjust to their style of play,” he shrugged.
“I was able to have a good finish and put myself in a spot to get another contract, and Cologne was the most interested team; they were pursuing me the most. They seemed happy to have me, and we’re going to be happy to be there, as well,” he said.
Ellis said he will be heading over to training camp in July and his wife will head over in late September with their baby, who’s due to arrive this month.