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Second Ellingson headed to Regina

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For hockey fans around the Valley the name Cody Ellingson is well known. Serving the past four years on the Swan Valley Stampers Junior A team, he spent a portion of his last year heading up the club as captain and played a total of 174 games during his time, racking up 35 goals and 59 assists to total 94 points.
“I chose to play hockey because I was very good at it from a very young age,” said Ellingson. “As a young child I loved the game – it was all I thought about and all I wanted to do.
“Going into high school I (had an interest) in playing football (as well) but I knew it wouldn’t work because I spent the first semester of Grades 9-11, living in Dauphin playing midget AAA hockey. Then, from Grade 12 till the time I was 20 years old I was playing for the Stampeders.”
After his junior hockey career came to a close in the spring of 2017, Ellingson took the next step in his life by pursuing a post secondary education at the University of Regina.
“I chose the U of R because it is close to home, it’s a good sized city, it has one of the top Kinesiology programs in Canada, and my brother Chase was also going to attend to play football there at the same time, until his plans (initially) changed,” said Ellingson.
But, as he moved on from his hockey career, he realized the desire to play football, that he had first felt in high school, was still there.
“I have never played organized football before but, coming from a football family, I was always told I should play football but I was never pressured to do so,” said Ellingson, noting that in addition to his brother Chase, who just signed with the Regina Rams, his father Rod, uncle Reg and cousin Scott Ellingson all coach with the SVRSS Tigers football team.
“My parents let me choose what I wanted to pursue and, at that time, it was hockey. I think the thought about playing football really started again after I finished my final year of junior hockey.
“I didn’t have any drive to continue playing hockey,” he added, noting that the only time he has laced up his skates since that final game was to help with the Stamps kids camp in August. “After my final season the thought of taking a shot at football started to creep back into my head.”
Close to committing to a new dream, Ellingson started doing some football specific training with his brother on top of his regular, everyday workouts.
“I ended up dropping the idea because I thought it was too far of a long shot to step into a sport I never played at 20 years old,” he said. “So, I just focused on my workouts.
“I think the turning point was when Chase dropped his full scholarship from the U of R to take an extra year to develop and follow his dream of playing Division 1 football in the United States. He kept saying he doesn’t want to look back and think “what if?”.
“This made me realize that I don’t want to look back at my life and wonder what could have been if I didn’t take a shot at doing something I always wanted to do,” he continued, noting that he also had some encouragement from classmates currently playing on the football team. “So, with that in mind, I ended up contacting the Rams head coach and asked if I could stop by his office to chat.
“I ended up meeting with him and we had a really good talk. Coach Bryce was shocked by my size and was very impressed with my athletic background. He told me that there is no doubt in his mind that I have great potential and is very excited to work with me. At the end of the meeting he shook my hand and said “welcome aboard”.”
Ellingson left that meeting in shock and a week later found himself doing a workout with the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach who put him through an hour of footwork drills.
“They were really impressed,” he said. “The coaches have told me they see a lot of potential in me so I’m going to do everything in my power to prove them right.
“From the first time we talked, coach Bryce wanted me to play linebacker. With my speed, strength, and size I feel like it is the perfect fit.
“I am expecting myself to be a very good player,” continued Ellingson. “It wouldn’t be possible to make a transition such as this, let alone walk into the coach of one of the top teams in Canada and ask him to take a chance on me, without being very confident in my athletic abilities.
“I have a lot of work ahead of me but I am going to be competing against players who have dedicated their whole lives to football and some of which will be playing pro in the coming years.”
Banking on his family’s knowledge of the game, Ellingson is looking forward to building on his familiarity of the sport in the coming months.
“I couldn’t be more thankful and excited for this opportunity,” he said.
“My dad, uncle and brother are going to play a huge role in helping me transition. Having so much football knowledge around me will make it a lot easier. We have been reviewing a lot of video and doing a lot of technical work since I got home for Christmas break.
“I am very blessed to be given the opportunity to step in to the game at the top level without having had grown up playing,” Ellingson continued. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
While excited for the future, Ellingson is appreciative of his time spent playing hockey.
“My junior hockey experience and skills – vision, awareness, use of proper angles, aggressiveness, confidence and so on – will help me transition,” he said.
“Hockey has also provided me with so many great memories, lifetime friends, and valuable life lessons. I don’t regret a single moment of my time playing hockey and wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.
“Sport has meant a lot to me and I don’t know where I would be without it,” concluded Ellingson.