Ex-NHLers to highlight Island Junior B hockey alumni games

Matt Ellison and Kyle Greentree commit to suit up in August for Kerry Park-Peninsula matches

Matt Ellison was a star with the Kerry Park Islanders before embarking on a pro career that included stops in the NHL and KHL. (Submitted)

Matt Ellison was a star with the Kerry Park Islanders before embarking on a pro career that included stops in the NHL and KHL. (Submitted)

Matt Ellison scored seven goals in the 2016 Kontinental Hockey League All-Star Game.

His scoring prowess will be on display in another gathering of greats this August as former Kerry Park Islanders and Peninsula Panthers stars get together for a pair of alumni games.

Ellison will suit up for the Kerry Park alumni, while fellow former NHLer Kyle Greentree will skate for the Peninsula alumni in the games on Aug. 14 and 15.

“The guys didn’t hesitate to jump on it,” current Islanders owner and head coach Brandon Cox said. “And they’ve helped get other guys interested.”

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A product of the Cowichan Valley, Ellison played for the Isles as a 15-year-old during the 1998-99 season, compiling 40 goals and 87 points in just 38 games. He went on to play two years with the junior A Cowichan Valley Capitals and one with the major junior Red Deer Rebels before embarking on a 16-year professional career.

Ellison’s pro career included 43 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks, but most of his success came in the KHL, where he put up 179 goals and 255 points in 539 games over 11 seasons, and sits sixth in all-time scoring.

Greentree played with the Peninsula Panthers before starting his four-year junior A career with the Victoria Salsa, then played three years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks before turning pro. Greentree played most of his pro career in the American Hockey League, but got into four NHL games: two with the Flyers and two with the Calgary Flames. He also played four seasons in Europe (Croatia, Switzerland, Germany and Austria) before his retirement.

Ellison and Greentree are among many local guys from the 1980s and 1990s who have committed to play in August.

“There’s a lot of buzz around the game,” Cox said.

The alumni games will be played at 7 p.m. both days. They will be preceded by exhibition games between the current Kerry Park and Peninsula rosters: young stars squaring off at 1 p.m. and veterans at 4 p.m. The day will also include a barbecue and a raffle with prizes including jerseys signed by Ellison, Greentree and former Panther turned NHL star Jamie Benn.

“We’re going to try to make it a good family event,” Cox said. “It will be good for me, coming from Parksville to connect with the guys from the Valley. I’m excited.”

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