The London Knights are looking to take home their second Memorial Cup win when they go head-to-head against the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies Sunday afternoon in Red Deer.
The Knights have won their last 16 games in a row, earning a spot in the final after going undefeated through the round robin for a direct berth in the championship game. The Huskies clinched a spot with a 3-1 victory over host Red Deer in the semi-finals on Friday. They’ll be trying for their first Memorial Cup win.
The Knights last won the championship game in 2005 when they took a 4-0 win over the QMJHL’s Rimouski Océanic at Budweiser Gardens, then known as the John Labatt Centre. The Knight’s Corey Perry was awarded MVP.
Knights forward and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner was named the Canadian Hockey League’s player of the year on Saturday. Marner racked up 116 points in 57 regular-season games, and followed that up by winning the OHL playoff MVP with 44 points in 18 games.
Those looking to get out of the house and take in the action are in luck. The Western Fair District, in partnership with Budweiser Gardens, is holding a Memorial Cup viewing party at the Metroland Media Agriplex.
“We’re hosting the event inside the arena area, so we’ll have the bleachers available, there will be tables and chairs available on the arena floor, and of course two large screens,” said Heather Blackwell, Director of Corporate Affairs at the Western Fair District. “Food and beverage will be available (and) it’s a family-friendly event, so there’s no 19-plus restriction on it, so everybody can come out and have a good time.”
Admission is free, and doors open at 3:30 p.m. Puck drop is set for just after 4:30 p.m.
“The last time we did this in 2012 we had hundreds, maybe a thousand people show up in the Progress Building, so I would anticipate we’d have that for this viewing again,” said Blackwell. “Everybody’s really excited and feel the Knights are going to win, so who knows, it could be a much larger turnout for the venue.”
Blackwell says local firefighters will be at the venue’s doors collecting funds that will be sent to relief programs to support families in Fort McMurray who have been affected by the wildfires.
“Since the Knights are actually in Alberta for the championship game, and Alberta’s families have struggled so much with the Fort McMurray fires, we’d thought this would be a nice aspect to support at the door,” said Blackwell.