Thursday afternoon was all about the London Knights, and whether or not they could beat out an impending storm that could wash out the Memorial Cup celebration.
A parade with the hardware they won en route to the championship proudly in tow snaked through downtown London before an autograph session at Budweiser Gardens.
Hundreds of hopeful fans braved daunting skies, and were led inside just before a torrential downpour washed out Jubilee Square.
One fan, Alison Carnegie, said she had to miss the parade to make sure she was first in line, and under the shelter of the box office.
“I was here in 2005 and stood in line for four hours waiting for autographs on the exact same stick, and I thought what a nice piece of memorabilia to have,” she said. “It was an either/or situation, I don’t think you can do both (the parade and autograph session), if the autograph session is only an hour long and the lineup is as huge as it is, that everyone’s going to get what they want autographed.”
The first floor concourse was filled for about an hour as they filed past the Knights players with sticks, pictures, jerseys, and other souvenirs that they wanted signed.
— Tom Fraser (@thomfraser) August 25, 2016
Following that, the Knights organization sat on stage in front of a couple hundred Knights fans for the team awards ceremony.
Outgoing Knights GM Basil McRae thanked the members of the organization, the fans, and the players for what turned out to be an incredibly successful season before the team awards were handed out:
- Intensity Award: Max Jones
- Sportsmanship and Ability Award: Victor Mete
- Peter Guertin Longshot Award: Aaron Berisha
- Best Defensive Forward: Christian Dvorak
- Booster Club Player of the Year: Tyler Parsons
- Scholastic Player: Cliff Pu
- Don Brankley Community Service Award: Mitchell Marner
- 3 Star Award: Christian Dvorak
- Hardest Working Player: JJ Piccinich
- Most Improved: Tyler Parsons
- Heart Trophy: Owen MacDonald
- Players Player: Jacob Graves
- Leading Scorer: Christian Dvorak
- Play-Off Performer of the Year: Mitchell Marner
- Best Defenseman: Olli Juolevi/Victor Mete
- Rookie of the Year: Matthew Tkachuk
- MVP: Mitchell Marner and Christian Dvorak
Finally, the Knights were awarded their rings, something forward Mitch Marner says is a great piece of memorabilia for him.
“Every time I look at it, it’s going to be a memory back to this rink and this city,” he said. “Looking at this ring it’s just a thing I’m going to have the rest of my life and remember this team by.”
Speaking about the ring, Arizona Coyotes prospect Christian Dvorak said they had a bit of a say on what the rings looked like.
First round pick of the Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk said the ring was a bit heavier than he thought it would be.
“It obviously has our name and our number on it but I think the most important thing on it is the 17-in-a-row and showing the road we had to get there.”
Big rings pic.twitter.com/NbnQH6vfWD
— Mitchell Marner (@Marner93) August 25, 2016
The London Knights pre-season gets underway next Friday, Sept. 2 when the team is split up to play five different games.
One of those games will be played at Budweiser Gardens against the Sarnia Sting at 7:30 p.m.