Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/27/09 at 08:25 PM ET
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
In cities such as London, junior hockey has become big business across Canada and the United States. But no franchise has undergone such a transformation as the Knights.
The team struggled mightily in the mid-1990s. It played in a deteriorating building on the south end of town and its on-ice performance was as horrible, setting a Canadian Hockey League record for futility at 3-60-3 in 1995-96.
Former NHL player Mark Hunter, along with his older brother, Dale, was at the old London Ice House for the final game that OHL season. The current co-owner of the Knights — then the Sarnia Sting head coach — and Stanley Cup winner with the 1988-89 Calgary Flames didn’t need a degree in risk management to see the possibilities.
“Dale and I always had interest in owning a major-junior franchise one day,” said Mark Hunter, 46. “I saw 4,000 people in that rink that final game. I saw 4,000 loyal fans for a team that won three games. This is a hockey city.”
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