The Youngstown Phantoms, members of the United States Hockey League, announced Saturday that they have signed forward Max Ellis from Hobeybaked (HPHL) to a tender for the 2016-17 season. Ellis, a native of Canton, MI, is Youngstown’s second and final tender signing prior to the USHL Phase I Draft. Ellis is the fifth player to sign a tender with a USHL team this season. Eight players signed tender contracts last season.
A tender contract allows USHL clubs to sign a player directly to their team in exchange for their first or second round pick in the USHL Phase I Draft. Ellis is the sixth player in Youngstown team history to sign a tender, joining Winnipeg Jets prospect Kyle Connor and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect J.J. Piccinich.
“It feels amazing to sign my tender and know that I am going to continue my development path and career in such a great place,” Ellis said. “The great coaching staff, general manager Jason Koehler, and the group of guys on the team have made me feel welcomed. With their success in developing players, it makes me really excited to call Youngstown home.”
Ellis is currently a high school sophomore and part of the Detroit Honeybaked U16 AAA program. In 23 games with Honeybaked, Ellis has 24 points (11G-13A), tied for 7th overall in the HPHL. Ellis is a three-time World Invitational Champion, including being named 2013 World Invitational MVP. He also won the 2015 National Championship with Detroit Honeybaked, and was a Silver Sticks Champion in 2013. The 5’10, 145 pound right-shot forward is currently uncommitted to a NCAA DI program.
“In our eyes, Max is one of the highest skilled forwards in the 2000 birth class,” Youngstown Phantoms general manager Jason Kohler said. “We have watched him play at a high caliber all season long, and are excited for the opportunity to welcome him into our family. Max reminds me of former Phantom forward and current leading scorer for the Quinnipiac Bobcats, Sam Anas. Max possesses the same high hockey IQ and playmaking ability, and we see him having a similar development here in Youngstown.”
Now in its fifth year, the USHL tender process allows teams to sign up to two 2000 birth year players prior to the 2016 USHL Phase I Draft. The first tender for a team would take the place of a first-round pick in Phase I of the USHL Draft, and if the team tenders a second player, that would take the place of a second-round selection in the USHL Phase I Draft. The final day for USHL teams to sign a tender is Sunday May 1, 2016.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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