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Ron Ellis, member of last Maple Leafs team to win Stanley Cup, dead at 79

Ron Ellis, who played over 1,000 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and was a member of Canada’s team at the 1972 Summit Series, has died at age 79.

The Maple Leafs confirmed his death on social media Saturday and a cause of death was not given.

Ellis played his entire 15-season NHL career in Toronto and had 640 points (332 goals, 308 assists) over 1,034 games. He was a four-time all-star and member of the last Maple Leafs team to win the Stanley Cup in the 1966-67 season.

“We mourn the loss of Ron Ellis, a lifetime Leaf whose legacy is woven into the fabric of the blue and white,” the Maple Leafs said in a statement.

“Ron played his entire NHL career for Toronto. He was one of only five Maple Leafs to skate in more than 1,000 games for the club while also scoring the fifth most goals in team history. Ron was a true gentleman of the game who will be deeply missed.”

A consistent offensive threat, Ellis had 11 seasons with 20 or more goals and surpassed the 30-goal mark twice.

Ellis received a rare tribute in 1968 when Leafs legend Ace Bailey asked the club to bring his No. 6 out of retirement so Ellis could wear it. Ellis, who was wearing No. 8 at the time, wore Bailey’s number for the final 11 seasons of his career.

Internationally, Ellis played all eight games in Canada’s Summit Series win over the Soviet Union on a line with Bobby Clarke and Paul Henderson.

Ellis won Memorial Cup

Ellis, from Lindsay, Ont., played junior hockey with the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association, winning a Memorial Cup in 1964.

He played one game for the Leafs in the 1963-64 NHL campaign before joining the team full-time the next season. He has 23 goals and 16 assists in 62 games in his rookie season in 1964-65.

He had 22 goals and 23 assists in 1966-67 before helping the Leafs win the Stanley Cup in six games over Montreal. He had two goals in the playoffs, including the opener in Toronto’s Cup-clinching 3-1 victory over the Canadiens.

After putting up a career-high 61 points (32 goals, 29 assists) in 1974-75, Ellis retired at age 30 during training camp the following season.

After representing Canada at the 1977 world hockey championship, he returned to the Leafs and played four more seasons.

After retiring a second time, Ellis ran his own sporting goods store in Brampton before joining the Hockey Hall of Fame as a director of public affairs and assistant to the president.

Ellis was candid about the wear-and-tear hockey took on his body. He wrote candidly of his battles with clinical depression, which he attributed to head injuries sustained while playing, in his autobiography “Over the Boards: The Ron Ellis Story”

“I had my share of concussions and my doctors believe it led to some problems with depression I’ve had later in life.” Ellis said in a 2014 interview.

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