CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The 16th season of hockey in Corpus Christi is already underway but positives moves are still being made. The IceRays are pleased to announce that they have named Rick Ellison, the new Director of Scouting & Player Development for the team.
“I am very honored and excited to join the IceRays given their superb reputation in Junior Hockey,” said Ellison. “This is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with a team of hockey leaders that has a clear focus on excellence in every aspect of their daily efforts to build the IceRays into a championship club. I am grateful for the trust from both Pat Dunn and John Becanic. There are few operations that conduct themselves to these high standards both on and off the ice and I am proud to be associated with Pat, John, and the entire Corpus Christi organization. Our goal when evaluating talent will be to identify highly talented players that bring a spirited level of "compete", combined with excellent skill sets and a “team first” attitude in Corpus Christi.”
Ellison, along with IceRays head coach John Becanic are no stranger to one another. They have worked together the past few years. For Becanic, it was an easy decision.
“Rick joining the IceRays organization is a major step in securing our long term success,” said Becanic. “He adds a level of professionalism to our scouting department that will allow us to compete in signing the best prospects in the US. I have worked with Rick over the last several years and we share the same philosophies in the type of person and player we want to be part of the IceRay family.”
Over the past 20 years, Rick has worked in the collegiate ranks as a coach/recruiter, and USA Hockey at the National level with the NDTP, Regional level in player identification and the State level in player development. Ellison has also spent 14 years with USA Hockey as a Coach trainer. Along with his past, Rick has evaluated prospects for the United States Hockey League (USHL) Central Scouting, the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Ellison believes the familiarity that he has with Becanic, along with trust, will bring success to the ‘Rays.
“I believe this time together has built trust, knowledge and accountability,” Ellison added. “In many ways, while John and I have a great deal of familiarity and many views that are similar at the same time we are different. This is important to bring debate, lively discussions and analysis that helps us dig deeper into our beliefs and opinions towards building a championship team built with the right players that fit the vision and strategy for success. We both know what players are required to be part of a successful NAHL team and are capable of being developed to make the next step. We want players with the ability and desire to move up to the NCAA, USHL, Major Junior, or Pro. More importantly in this equation, we want players who will understand their responsibility to leave a legacy of excellence in Corpus Christi in their performance on the ice and their commitment to the community. Pat and John will expect nothing less.”
Ellison attended the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota. Even though the IceRays went 1-2-1, he likes what he saw.
“I like the up-tempo and high transition skills many of the players bring to the team,” Ellison concluded. “There is also a strong level of commitment and courage to battle and compete in all zones regardless of the price to be paid. Even though this is a young team, the future looks bright this season. The older players are leading well and all have already made huge steps so far and will grow significantly more as they develop the hockey IQ under John's direction to execute at even a higher level.”
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)