Eddie Ellis, one of three co-captains of the Harvard hockey team, and his teammates are taking aim at qualifying for the NCAA tournament for a fourth straight year. They’re also following up on a season in which they won the Beanpot, ECAC regular season and tournament championships, and advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. Along the way, the skaters will take a little time to cheer on junior forward and teammate Ryan Donato, the son of coach Ted Donato, in the Olympics. A fourth line center, economics major, and Burlington resident, Ellis followed his father into Division 1 hockey: Doug was a goaltender at Boston College from 1978-82.
Q. What’s been your athletics highlight at Harvard so far?
A. Being around my teammates. I’ve met some unbelievable guys and shared so many memories on and off the ice. If I had to pick one on the ice, it would definitely be winning the Beanpot last year. Growing up around here, the Beanpot was pretty close to me. Especially for me and my dad. He played for BC and I grew up going to their games and rooting for BC.
Q. Was becoming a Harvard hockey fan difficult for him?
A. He didn’t seem to have too much of a problem switching over.
Q. How has being a captain gone?
A. It’s been pretty challenging. There’s a lot of responsibility with communication between the guys and the coaching staff. I’ve found that it makes you really focus on being 100 percent dialed in every single day. You get the feeling that if guys see you slacking or taking a day off, it gives them the message that it’s OK. That’s something that really pushes you to be your best every day, which has been great for me.
Q. What do you think about having a special rooting interest in the Olympics with Ryan Donato there?
A. It’s going to be really exciting. Hockey in the Olympics is always exciting whether or not you know someone in it or have a teammate or friend playing on one of the teams. It’s going to be cool. He’s a really nice kid and he’s really earned it. He’s one of the hardest-working guys on our team. He’s always working on his game and he’s very determined. He’s 100 percent earned it. We’re all very excited to watch him and root for him, even at the expense of missing him for a couple of weeks.
Q. What does he add to the Olympic team?
A. He brings great goal-scoring ability. I think he’s scored about a goal a game for us this year. He’s got a great shot. He rips the pill from anywhere, all over the ice. He’s going to get a lot of pucks to the net for Team USA. He’s a great offensive threat.
Q. What do you plan to do after graduation?
A. I’m trying to figure that out. I’m trying to figure whether I want to play somewhere, whether it be overseas in Europe or somewhere here in the states. Some guys who have graduated in the last couple of years are doing that. One’s playing in France, another in Belfast, and there are guys in the ECHL and AHL. I’ll see what happens this year and if there are any opportunities. I’ll also try to weigh my options in the job world.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not playing, practicing, or studying?
A. The New England Patriots are my favorite sports team. I love to follow them and see how they and the rest of the Boston professional teams are doing. I love to golf when the weather is nice. I try to get out when I can. When it’s warmer and sunny I generally like to hang around with friends and maybe toss a football or Frisbee.Allen Lessels can be reached at email@example.com.