URBANDALE, Iowa — “I converted some old skates in a roller blade to actually on the hockey shop prospering bucks. And so I've just been doing skill stuff out in the street you know stick handling working on my shots. “
That’s about all Noah Ellis can do to keep his skills up as he waits for the ice arenas to reopen in the metro. Outside of workouts, Ellis has been taking calls from NHL team looking to draft the Urbandale native.
"That's been cool you know getting the exposure I mean playing the USHL you get the most exposure possible. And then just talking to teams it's pretty it's pretty cool experience. Just like the things they say the different approaches they have I mean I've talked to teams where they basically coached me on what to what to do on other teams, they just basically pump your tires telling you what they like about you and stuff like that."
Ellis’ game took another nice jump forward this past season with the Des Moines Buccaneers and now ranks 215th in the NHL’s final rankings of north American skaters. But there is still plenty to work on.
"I mean, the common things like stick positioning, a little bit of the defensive side of the game stuff I mean I knew about that. I'm gonna start working on once, once the ranks are opening up and stuff, but yeah it's been it's been all good stuff and it's been a cool experience."
Should Ellis hear his name called in the NHL Entry draft, he’d become just the second hockey player from the Des Moines area drafted. The other was goaltender Scott Clemmensen.
“It's one thing that I've worked for my whole life I mean, I started playing when I was seven and ever since then I, I guess my dad used to tell me these stories all the time when he asked me about my, my dream in life would it be our dream thing for hockey I always said win the Stanley Cup and he always was Mind blown about that it wasn't like getting drafted or whatever so I need when it comes down the road if it happened, it'd be awesome if not I mean just keep working see where it goes.”
Ellis is committed to UMASS but will return for at least one more season with the Bucs to continue his development.
We caught up with head coach Peter Mannino as the Bucs just wrapped up the USHL phase one and phase two draft over the past two days. Mannino is looking to build on his first season as the bench boss of the Bucs, and he feels he has set the program up well for the future.
"In order to build off the winning traditions of the Des Moines Buccaneers, you got to find the guys that that buy into that schedule buy into what we believe in it not to say, you know it's just a different mentality. And when you have the ability to draft and go through this process now as a group and the guys that we had at the end of last season that will be coming back, we're super excited, our coaching staff is really really excited because it's a transitional year."