Hockey team | CAN_eng = 1
team = London Knights
Ontario Hockey League
conference = Western
division = Midwest
founded = 1965
John Labatt Centre
colours = Green, Gold, Black, and White
GM = Mark Hunter
dates1 = 1965-1968
name2 = London Knights
dates2 = 1968-PresentThe London Knights are a
junior ice hockeyteam from London, Ontario, Canada, playing in the Ontario Hockey League, one of the leagues of the Canadian Hockey League.
The team was founded as an Ontario Hockey Association junior A team in
1965as the London Nationals (see article). Prior to 1965, the team's history dated back to the early 1950s, playing in the Western Junior B league out of the Ontario Arenaat the Western Fairgrounds. They won the Western Junior B title in 1952 as the London Lou Ball Juniors, after sponsor Lou Ball's clothing store. In 1963 the Toronto Maple Leafsbegan sponsoring the team, by now called the Nationals after sponsor the Canadian National Recreation Association, an organization of Canadian National Railwaysemployees. The Leafs traditionally had affiliations with the Toronto Marlborosand St. Michael's Majors, however with the withdrawal of the Majors from the OHA and the collapse of the Metro Junior A League, the Leafs were left with one team only. They decided to sponsor the junior team in London, which would play at the new London Gardensand be promoted to the OHA. The league initially balked at the proposition, however, and so the Nationals continued to play junior B, winning the London Free Press Trophy as league champions in 1964 and 1965. For the 1965-66 season the team was finally admitted to major junior hockey. The team's uniforms were copies of those of the Maple Leafs, coloured in blue and white and with a Leaf logo with "London Nationals" spelled out on the front.
The Darwin Era, 1968-86
1968, businessman Howard Darwinbought the London Nationals (he also owned the Ottawa 67's) as the era of NHL sponsorship of junior hockey ended. Darwin wanted to give a fresh look to the team, and so held a contest to rename the team. Londoner Brian Logie suggested the name Knights, and the team's colours were changed to green, white and gold. In 1970 the team also hired trainer Don Brankley, who stayed with the team until retiring at the end of the 2007-08 season. The team grew from a chronic also-ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s to a contender near the end of the decade. The highlight of the Darwin era came in 1976-77, when a powerful Knights team led by future NHLers Rob Ramage, Brad Marshand Dino Ciccarellidefeated the St. Catharines Fincups in the conference final on an overtime goal by Dan Eastmanto advance to the OHL final against the 67's. However, the 67's were triumphant in six games in the league final. In the early 1980s the Knights descended to a nadir in franchise history, with small crowds and a poor record. However, right winger Brendan Shanahanwould soon rise to prominence and help to draw larger crowds.
New Owners, New Dawn, 1986-94
1986Howard Darwin sold the Knights and the arena to Paris, Ontariobusinessmen Jack Robillard, Al Martin and Bob Wilson. The trio also owned the Hamilton Steelhawks. The Knights were sold for a dollar but the London Gardens was sold at market value. The new ownership group modernized the team's logo and renovated the Gardens. Under their stewardship the Knights would go on a run of success. Between 1987and 1993the team would finish no lower than third in the Emms Division, including a division title in 1989-90. However, regular season success did not translate into playoff success, as the Knights would never make the league final in these years.
Knightmare and Redemption 1994-2000
In 1994 the Knights were sold to
St. Thomas, Ontario, real estatedeveloper Doug Tarry, Sr.. Unfortunately, Tarry would die before the team had played a game under his ownership, and the team was inherited by his son, Doug Tarry, Jr.. Upon taking command, Tarry carried out further renovations on the Gardens including a name change to the "London Ice House." He also alienated a fair portion of the team's fan base by changing the team's uniforms from traditional green and gold to eggplant and teal, and changing the logo to a cartoonish Spider-Mancaricature, instantly and derisively nicknamed "Spiderknight" [http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/logos/logos.cgi?logo_file=ohl/london_knights_2001.gif] by the faithful. The 1995-96 OHL seasonwent down in history as the worst in the history of the Canadian Hockey League. The Knights set a new record for futility by winning only three games all season in sixty-six tries, finishing with nine points and a 3-60-3 record. The years following the so-called "Knightmare" season were improved, but the team was still a long way from the league's upper echelon. Meanwhile, the Ice House was falling apart as the Tarry family had stopped putting money into it as a part of their lobbying the city of London for a new arena. However, the re-signing of former Head Coach Gary Agnew, and the signing of future NHLers Rico Fataand Tom Kostopoulosheralded a marked turnaround for the team's fortunes. In 1999, the Knights went on an unexpected playoff run, in which they defeated the number-one-in-the-CHL Plymouth Whalersin seven games in the quarterfinals and ultimately went all the way to the OHL championship, which they lost in seven games to the Belleville Bulls.
The Hunter Era, 2000-present
In 2000, former NHL players
Dale Hunterand Mark Hunter bought the Knights and began a process of rebuilding. The Hunters rebuilt the Knights' scouting network and began lobbying the city of London for a new arena. The Ice House was scheduled to close at the conclusion of the 2001-02 OHL season, and as a treat for their fans, the Knights changed back to their 1986-94 green and gold uniforms in February 2002. In October that year the John Labatt Centreopened, and new, modernized versions of the old green and gold uniforms debuted. The 2003-04 OHL seasonwould mark the beginning of a remarkable dynasty. The Knights had the best record in the CHL after the regular season, also setting an OHL record with 110 points, but they lost to the Guelph Stormin the OHL Western Conference final. In the 2004-05 season, the Knights broke a CHL record, going 31 games in a row without a loss (29-0-2). [http://www.chl.ca/CHLRecordBook/longestundefeatedstreak.html] The previous record of 29 games, held by the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings(who went 25-0-4 during their streak), was broken with a 0-0 tie against the Guelph Stormon December 10, 2004. The streak ended at 31 games after a 5-2 loss to the Sudbury Wolves on December 17. The Knights finished the season with 120 points (59 wins, 7 losses, 2 ties), breaking their own OHL record set the previous season. In the playoffs, the Knights started by sweeping two best-of-seven series against the Guelph Storm and Windsor Spitfires. In the Western Conference final, the Knights defeated the Kitchener Rangers4-1 to win the Wayne Gretzky Trophy. In the OHL finals against the Ottawa 67's, the Knights won the series 4-1 to win their first J. Ross Robertson Cup, and in so doing, ended the longest championship drought in the CHL. That same year, the London Knights and the John Labatt Centre were awarded the right to host 2005 Memorial CupTournament, which was played from May 21 to May 29. In the tournament, they defeated the Rimouski Océanic4-3 on May 21, the Kelowna Rockets4-2 on May 23, and the Ottawa 67's 5-2 on May 26. This earned the Knights a bye into the championship game. On May 29, the Knights defeated Rimouski 4-0 to win their first Memorial Cup. In 2005-06, the team won their third consecutive Hamilton Spectator Trophyfor winning the regular season title, but their run into the playoffs ended with a loss to Peterborough in the OHL final. In 2006-07 the Knights continued their run of success, winning their fourth consecutive Hamilton Spectator Trophyas regular season champions. However, they lost the Western Conference Championship to the Plymouth Whalers.
*2004-05 Champions vs.
Rimouski Océanic J. Ross Robertson Cup
*2005-06 Lost to
*2004-05 Champions vs.
*1998-99 Lost to
*1976-77 Lost to
Ottawa 67's Hamilton Spectator Trophy
Most Points in Regular Season
*2003-04 - 110 points - 53-11-2-2
*2004-05 - 120 points - 59-7-2-0
*2005-06 - 102 points - 49-15-1-3
*2006-07 - 104 points - 50-14-1-3
Wayne Gretzky Trophy
Western Conference Champions
Emms Division Champions
West Division Champions
Midwest Division Champions
Canadian Hockey League
CHL Player of the Year
*1981-82 - Dave Simpson
Jason Allison Hap Emms Memorial Trophy
Outstanding Goaltender at the Memorial Cup
Adam Dennis Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy
Most Valuable Player at the Memorial Cup
Corey Perry Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award
Dale Hunter CHL Executive of the Year
Paul McIntosh CHL Defenceman of the Year
Danny Syvret CHL Humanitarian of the Year
Jason Metcalfe CHL Rookie of the Year
Patrick Kane CHL Top Draft Prospect Award
Patrick Kane CHL Top Scorer Award
Ontario Hockey League
Bobby Smith Trophy
Scholastic Player of the Year
*1981-82 - Dave Simpson
Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy
Humanitarian of the Year
Jason Metcalfe Dave Pinkney Trophy
Lowest Team G.A.A.
*2003-04 - Ryan MacDonald &
Adam Dennis& Gerald Coleman Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy
*1981-82 - Dave Simpson
Patrick Kane Emms Family Award
Rookie of the Year
Patrick Kane F.W. "Dinty" Moore Trophy
Lowest G.A.A. among Rookie Goaltenders
*2003-04 - Ryan MacDonald
Jack Ferguson Award
Top Draft Pick
Rico Fata Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy
Highest Scoring Right Winger
Patrick Kane Matt Leyden Trophy
Coach of the Year
*1976-77 - Bill Long
Dale Hunter Max Kaminsky Trophy
Most Outstanding Defenseman
*1975-76 - Rick Green
Brad Marsh& Rob Ramage
*1999-00 - John Erskine
Danny Syvret OHL Executive of the Year
*2003-04 - Mark Hunter
OHL Goaltender of the Year
*2006-07 - Steve Mason
Red Tilson Trophy
Most Outstanding Player
*1981-82 - Dave Simpson
Corey Perry Roger Neilson Memorial Award
Top Academic College/University Player
Scott Aarssen Wayne Gretzky 99 Award
Corey Perry William Hanley Trophy
Most Sportsmanlike Player
*1981-82 - Dave Simpson
London Knights coaches have won the
Matt Leyden Trophy, emblematic of the OHL's Coach of the Year, five times. Bill Long won it once, in 1976-77, Gary Agnewtwice, in 1992-93 and in 1997-98, and Dale Huntertwice, in 2003-04 and 2004-05. Dale Hunter also won the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award, emblematic of CHL Coach of the Year honours, in 2003-04. The team's current assistant coach is Pat Curcio. Former NHLer, Dave Gagner left the team during the summer of 2008 to accept a position with the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL.
Notes: Mike Fedorko was entering his second season as Knights' coach and GM in the autumn of 1995. He was fired in October 1995 when the Knights began the season with a 13-game losing streak. Assistant Murray Nystrom took over coaching duties temporarily. Tom Barrett, who had led the Kitchener Rangers to the 1984 Memorial Cup, was named head coach in December. Barrett unfortunately died of cancer in April 1996, shortly after the conclusion of the season. Moe Mantha was originally named the head coach to take over from Barrett, but left to coach the
As London Nationals:
Turk BrodaAs London Knights:
*"1968-69" - Gene Taylor
*"1972-80" - Bill Long
*"1995-96" - Tom Barrett
Dale Hunter Baltimore Banditsof the American Hockey Leaguebefore coaching a game. Brad Selwood was ultimately named Barrett's replacement for 1996-97 but was fired mid-season and GM Paul McIntosh took over on an interim basis for the rest of the season. Gary Agnew was rehired at the start of 1997-98. [http://www.lfpress.ca/perl-bin/niveau2.cgi?s=sport&p=90431.html&a=1]
The following is a complete list of London Knights who later played in the
National Hockey Leagueor World Hockey Association. :"London Nationals"
Bold indicates a player on a current NHL roster, or who played a game in the NHL during the 2006-07 season.
Jacques "Jim" Blain
First-rounders in NHL/WHA entry draft
The London Knights have produced more first overall selections in the
NHL Entry Draft(4) than any other team in the world. The Knights also produced one first overall selection in the 1977 WHA Amateur Draft. London is also ranked third (behind Peterborough and Oshawa) on the all-time list of number of players drafted by the NHL, with 142 as of 2007.1
The following players were selected in the first round of the NHL entry draft:
Darryl Sittler1970 8th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Maloney1970 14th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks Dennis Ververgaert1973 3rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks
Rick Green 1976 1st overall by the
Scott Campbell 1977 9th overall by the St. Louis Blues
Brad Marsh1978 11th overall by the Calgary Flames Rob Ramage1979 1st overall by the Colorado Rockies Jim Sandlak1985 3rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks Brendan Shanahan1987 2nd overall by the New Jersey Devils Nick Stajduhar1993 16th overall by the Edmonton Oilers Jason Allison1993 17th overall by the Washington Capitals Rico Fata1998 6th overall by the Calgary Flames Rick Nash2002 1st overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets Corey Perry2003 28th overall by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Rob Schremp2004 25th overall by the Edmonton Oilers Patrick Kane2007 1st overall by the Chicago Blackhawks Sam Gagner2007 6th overall by the Edmonton Oilers
The following players were selected in the first round of the WHA amateur draft:
Reg Thomas1973 8th overall by the Los Angeles Sharks
Rick Green 1976 10th overall by the
Scott Campbell 1977 1st overall by the Houston Aeros
300 Point Club
The following players recorded a minimum of 300 career points in a Knights' uniform: "Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points"
* 1965 to 1968 as London Nationals
* 1968 to Present as London Knights
*1965-66 Out of playoffs.
*1966-67 Lost to Niagara Falls Flyers 8 points to 4 in quarterfinals.
*1967-68 Lost to Hamilton Red Wings 8 points to 2 in quarterfinals.
*1968-69 Lost to Peterborough Petes 8 points to 4 in quarterfinals.
*1969-70 Defeated Peterborough Petes 8 points to 4 in quarterfinals.
Lost to Toronto Marlboros 9 points to 3 in semifinals.
*1970-71 Lost to Montreal Junior Canadiens 8 points to 0 in quarterfinals.
*1971-72 Lost to Ottawa 67's 8 points to 6 in quarterfinals.
*1972-73 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 8 points to 0 in quarterfinals.
Lost to Peterborough Petes 9 points to 5 in semifinals.
*1973-74 Lost to Toronto Marlboros 9 points to 1 in quarterfinals.
*1974-75 Out of playoffs.
*1975-76 Lost to Toronto Marlboros 8 points to 2 in quarterfinals.
*1976-77 Defeated Toronto Marlboros 9 points to 3 in quarterfinals.
Defeated St. Catharines Fincups 9 points to 7 in semifinals.
Lost to Ottawa 67's 8 points to 4 in finals.
*1977-78 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 8 points to 0 in quarterfinals.
Lost to Hamilton Fincups 9 points to 5 in semifinals.
*1978-79 Defeated Windsor Spitfires in first round - series protested.
Lost to Niagara Falls Flyers in round-robin.
*1979-80 Lost to Niagara Falls Flyers 6 points to 4 in first round.
*1980-81 Out of playoffs.
*1981-82 Lost to Brantford Alexanders 6 points to 2 in first round.
*1982-83 Lost to Brantford Alexanders 6 points to 0 in first round.
*1983-84 Defeated North Bay Centennials 6 points to 2 in first round.
Lost to Kitchener Rangers 8 points to 0 in quarterfinals.
*1984-85 Defeated Windsor Spitfires 8 points to 0 in first round.
Lost to Hamilton Steelhawks 6 points to 2 in quarterfinals.
*1985-86 Lost to North Bay Centennials 9 points to 1 in first round.
*1986-87 Out of playoffs.
*1987-88 Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 2 in first round.
Lost to Hamilton Steelhawks 4 games to 2 in quarterfinals.
*1988-89 Defeated Guelph Platers 4 games to 3 in first round.
Defeated North Bay Centennials 4 games to 3 in quarterfinals.
Lost to Niagara Falls Thunder 4 games to 3 in semifinals.
*1989-90 Lost to Niagara Falls Thunder 4 games to 2 in first round.
*1990-91 Lost to Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 3 in first round.
*1991-92 Defeated Owen Sound Platers 4 games to 1 in first round.
Lost to Niagara Falls Thunder 4 games to 1 in quarterfinals.
*1992-93 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 3 in first round.
Lost to Detroit Jr. Red Wings 4 games to 1 in quarterfinals.
*1993-94 Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 1 in first round.
*1994-95 Lost to Detroit Jr. Red Wings 4 games to 0 in first round.
*1995-96 Out of playoffs.
*1996-97 Out of playoffs.
*1997-98 Defeated Erie Otters 4 games to 3 in first round.
Defeated Kingston Frontenacs 4 games to 1 in quarterfinals.
Lost to Ottawa 67's 4 games to 0 in semifinals.
*1998-99 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 2 in first round.
Defeated Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 3 in quarterfinals.
Defeated Owen Sound Platers 4 games to 1 in semifinals.
Lost to Belleville Bulls 4 games to 3 in finals.
*1999-00 Out of playoffs.
*2000-01 Lost to Erie Otters 4 games to 1 in first round.
*2001-02 Defeated Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 2 in first round.
Lost to Erie Otters 4 games to 2 in quarterfinals.
*2002-03 Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 3 in first round.
Lost to Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 2 in quarterfinals.
*2003-04 Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 0 in first round.
Defeated Erie Otters 4 games to 0 in quarterfinals.
Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 3 in semifinals.
*2004-05 Defeated Guelph Storm 4 games to 0 in first round.
Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 0 in quarterfinals.
Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 1 in semifinals.
Defeated Ottawa 67's 4 games to 1 in finals. OHL CHAMPIONS
Finished Memorial Cup round-robin in first place.
Defeated Rimouski Océanic 4-0 in the championship game. "MEMORIAL CUP CHAMPIONS"
*2005-06 Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 0 in first round.
Defeated Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 2 in quarterfinals.
Defeated Guelph Storm 4 games to 1 in semifinals.
Lost to Peterborough Petes 4 games to 0 in finals.
*2006-07 Defeated Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 0 in first round.
Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 3 in quarterfinals.
Lost to Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 1 in semifinals.
*2007-08 Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 1 in first round.
Uniforms and logos
London Nationals, the Knights originally played in the blue and white of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team's logo was the same Leaf as used by the parent club at the time, except with the words "London Nationals" written out across the leaf instead of "Toronto Maple Leafs". After 1968, the colours changed to green, gold and white, and the logo to a classically-inspired Knight's head with an Old English"K" on the helmet. In 1980the striping changed slightly, from classical horizontal stripes around the sleeves and bottom of the sweater to large arm stripes and a bare sweater bottom. In 1985-86 the green on the uniforms was darkened and the arm stripes were deleted in favour of broad swathes of secondary colour across the shoulders and down the arms. 1986 saw a total re-design of sweater and logo. Black was added as a secondary colour and the striping returned to a more pedestrian design. The logo was also changed, from a classical Knight's head to a more modernized version on a gold circle with the letter "L". These uniforms were used until 1994. In 1994 the green and gold were disposed of completely in favour of the eggplant and teal used by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The logo was changed to "Spiderknight", with normal horizontal striping and pointed shouder stripes. There was also a teal shoulder patch bearing the word "London" and a hockey stick. In February 2002, the Knights reverted back to their 1986-94 uniforms as a commemoration of the closing of the London Gardens. The special uniforms were identical except for two shoulder patches, one bearing the 1968-86 logo and the other bearing the 1994-2002 logo. These uniforms were also used for the 2002-03 preseason. For the opening of the John Labatt Centrein October 2002, the Knights debuted new uniforms with the 1986-94 logo, minus the "L" and the gold circle. These were drawn on a home white uniform and a road uniform that, for the first time in team history, bore black as its primary colour. Each uniform also bore a new "shield" shoulder patch. The team also debuted green third jerseys, which featured the word "KNIGHTS" printed diagonally across the front of the sweater.
London Gardens / London Ice House, 1965-2002
*Built : 1963
*Capacity : 5,075 including standing room.
*Ice Size : 190' x 85'The London Gardens (see article) was built in
1963and served as the home of the Knights from the team's inception in 1965to its closing in 2002. The building was renamed London Ice House in 1994. The last meaningful game played at the arena was in the 2002playoffs, where the Knights lost in overtime in the sixth game of the second round to the eventual OHL Champion Erie Otters. The last goal in the building was scored by Carlo Colaiacovo. The Knights used the Ice House for their training camp and exhibition schedule for the 2002-03 season and moved out permanently in October 2002. The arena is currently home to the Forest City Velodrome. [http://www.ohlarenaguide.com/ldngardens.htm The OHL Arena & Travel Guide - London Gardens]
John Labatt Centre, 2002-present
*Built : 2002
*Capacity : 9,090 including standing room.
*Ice Size : 200' x 85'The John Labatt Centre (see article) opened on
October 11, 2002 as the Knights played host to the Plymouth Whalers. The first goal in the building was scored by Dylan Hunter. The arena, located in downtown London, is the largest in Western Ontario. Tickets for the 2005-06 season in the building sold out in one day, and there is currently a cap on season tickets due to the team's popularity.
[http://www.ohlarenaguide.com/knights.htm The OHL Arena & Travel Guide - John Labatt Centre]
List of ice hockey teams in Ontario
* [http://www.londonknights.com www.londonknights.com] Official web site
* [http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/ Ontario Hockey League] Official web site
* [http://www.chl.ca/ Canadian Hockey League] Official web site
* [http://www.knightsvideos.com www.knightsvideos.com] Knights Videos
* [http://www.knightshistory.com www.knightshistory.com] Knights History
* [http://www.london.ca/Council/honours_list.htm 2006 Mayor's Honour's List recipients]
* [http://email@example.com/ London Knights history site]
* [http://formerlondonknights.blogspot.com/ London Knights Blog Site ]
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