Playing at least the new two seasons in Nashville means more to Dan Ellis than the money.
During his professional hockey career Ellis and his wife, Katy, have spent the offseason in Omaha, Neb. Ellis played college hockey at the Nebraska-Omaha. The city is also his wife’s hometown.
“My wife’s entire family is here,” Ellis said. “I have a number of close friends and connections from college who have settled here. I was talking to a reporter from the Omaha newspaper and there are about 20 of my ex-college teammates who are still in the city. It is a real comfortable place to stay for the summer.”
But this past weekend Ellis came to Nashville to serve as grand marshal for the Indy Car race series event at the Nashville Superspeedway. While that aspect of the trip generated all of the publicity, he and Katy were in town to do something they had never done before — search for a home to buy.
“This is something I have been looking forward to for five years now,” Ellis said. “I had been bouncing from team-to-team and city-to-city and never having any stability.
“Having a sense of stability and knowing you are going to be with a team for at least two years is a great feeling. This is the first time we have ever been able to go into a city where I am playing and purchase a house. “
The uncertainty many pro athletes face each season is something that most fans never get to see. Ellis has always taken the approach that you can’t worry about the parts of your life that you cannot control.
“The team dictates where they are going to put you, whether it is going to be in the minors or with the big club,” Ellis said. “Whether they are going to sign you to a long-term deal or a one-year deal is up to the team.
“All of those things are completely out of your control. Not knowing where you are going to be from week-to-week is one of the most difficult things about being a pro athlete. Everything can change for you at the drop of a hat. That might be one of the drawbacks, but there are a lot of perks to being a professional athlete.”
The ability to put down roots is especially important this season. He and Katy are expecting a son, their first child, in August. They wouldn’t mind watching him grow up in Nashville.
“We had always had the dream of buying a house and being with one team, but it had never been a reality,” Ellis said. “We are about four weeks away.
“One of the things we wanted to have when we had children was to have some stability. Being here in Nashville makes the transition of being a parent that much easier for us. We don’t have to worry about moving the child around from city to city. It is going to be a great experience for us to be parents and Nashville is going to be a great city to raise our child.”