The Fort McMurray Giants have found their new leader for the clubhouse.
Joe Ellison has been hired to coach the team this upcoming summer.
Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Ellison is the current Pitching Coach & Recruiting Coordinator for McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas.
“I’m excited to get up there, learn the area, meet the people, get involved in the community, and hopefully bring a winning product and win a championship,” said Ellison.
Pulling double-duty with his current gig in McPherson and his new job in Fort McMurray, Ellison says he is already on the recruiting trail to bring kids up north.
“Andrew Swagers and Andrew Bradbury, we’re working hard to recruit players, we already have a couple of kids signed on to join (the team), making progress to putting a good team on the field.”
A pipeline of talent between McPherson to Fort McMurray could even be in the works.
“We signed one kid, an outfielder, but it seems like everyone wants to come now. We have some talented kids coming from McPherson.”
As for the type of players he’s looking for, Ellison says talent is first.
“We want to win a championship in Fort McMurray, but at the same time you want guys that are bought in, good players with good personalities, and good team guys,” said Ellison.
“I want guys who want to be there all year and are also big community guys too. Playing summer ball they’re going to learn a lot about themselves.”
The new coach says he’ll play toward his roster when it comes to the style of coaching.
“From what I’m learning, we have a big field, we’re going to need some speed in the outfield,” Ellison noted of Legacy Dodge Field at Shell Place.
“Home runs won’t come as easy at home, we’re going to build around some speed, some small ball, and play good defence.”
Ellison, a right-handed pitcher, grew up playing for the Ontario Blue Jays before moving on to post-secondary school at Cisco College in Texas in 2009-2010. He then transferred to Conners State College in Oklahoma for the 2010-2011 year and then finished his career at South Dakota State in 2011-2012.
His coaching career brought him back to the Ontario Blue Jays where he worked his way up from Pitching Coordinator to Head Coach to Director of Baseball Operations, before accepting the job at McPherson.