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Osprey's Ellis earns local distinction
01/21/2013 6:50 PM ET
MISSOULA, Mont. -- The Missoula Downtown Association named Missoula Osprey executive vice president Matt Ellis its 2012 Downtowner of the Year at its annual banquet Wednesday.

Ellis was nominated for his overwhelming dedication to downtown Missoula and his work implementing the Downtown Master Plan. He is an active volunteer as chair of the Master Plan Committee. Ellis is passionate about improving Downtown in the future and serves on the board of the MDA, Destination Missoula as well as The Parenting Place.

"Matt Ellis is one of the most consistent, unselfish Downtown advocates we have," said Rod Austin, director of the Downtown Business Improvement District. "From the original development of the BID all the way through to Master Plan Implementation, Matt has been there with practical solutions that have helped get our community where it is today."

Ellis is entering his 26th season in professional baseball and has been an owner and operator at all levels. He has been named League Executive of the Year five times (Lethbridge 1994, Lancaster 1996 (California League), Missoula 2002, 2007, 2011).

Ellis supervised the purchase and development of the MSO Hub, the retail and visitor's center in the heart of downtown Missoula. He also owns and operates the Uptown Diner just a couple doors down from the MSO Hub.

Ellis helped negotiate a long-term, 25-year lease that will keep the Osprey downtown in the city-owned stadium. The lease negotiation also moved stadium ownership from a local non-profit to the City of Missoula and retired stadium construction debt.

"The organization is very proud of Matt's continued contributions to downtown Missoula and the community as a whole," said Osprey vice president/general manager Jeff Griffin. "He advocates daily for a stronger downtown and his efforts to improve the quality of life in Missoula are commendable."

Baseball is truly a personal affair for the Ellis family. Matt's mom, Judy, is a former Rawlings Female Executive of the Year winner and was the first in the business back in 1981 as a day of game employee for the Lodi Crushers of the California League. Matt's dad, Mike, is a former member of the Board of Trustees for Minor League Baseball, and is now Osprey President and President of the Northwest League. Matt's wife, Shelly, was the Female Executive of the Year in the Pioneer League in 2005 and 2012 and their son, Michael, works the home games as one of the team's batboys.

Jared Amoss, Osprey general manager of operations, was honored with the same award in 2005.

The 2013 Osprey will open their 15th season in Missoula on Thursday, June 20, when they host the Helena Brewers at Ogren Park Allegiance Field. Season tickets and mini-packs are available now by calling the Osprey at (406) 543-3300, by visiting the MSO Hub Box Office at 140 N. Higgins, or by heading to the team's official website at