A London Knights game just isn’t a London Knights game without hearing the Chelsea Dagger at least once.
Fans will be packed to the brim inside Budweiser Gardens, hoping and waiting for the goal song to be played at least a couple times at Friday’s home opener against the Erie Otters.
The 2016-17 campaign follows a summer of parades, celebrations, and anticipation, waiting to get back on the ice for a chance at defending their Memorial Cup title.
The Knights beat the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 3-2 in a thrilling overtime match that capped a 17-game playoff win streak by London.
That championship will be memorialized before puck drop as a banner gets raised to the rafters.
However, 14 of the players from that winning team are away at NHL camps having been drafted over the summer, including forwards Mitch Marner (Toronto) and Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary), and goalie Tyler Parsons (Calgary).
In their absence, the Knights will lean on Max Jones, Cliff Pu and Janne Kuokkanen, another new addition.
Meanwhile, veterans CJ Yakimowicz and Victor Mete joined The Craig Needles Show this morning on AM980 to discuss what it will be like to see a banner raised commemorating last season.
“I’ll probably start thinking about everything that’s happened over the past three months, then when we won and everything going back to the run we had.”
Yakimowicz said the fans played a big role in their success in becoming the CHL’s top team.
“It’s unbelievable, honestly. There’s no other fan base like it in the CHL I don’t think. I think this is the best rink in the CHL, I think these are the best fans in the CHL and they just show it every Friday night that we have a game, it’s packed every night. The support that we got after we won the Memorial Cup was unbelievable.”
The Erie Otters had the best record in the OHL last season, which came down to a final game matchup between them and the Knights that the Otters won.
However, the Knights got the best of them in the post-season, a four-game sweep as part of their unstoppable run.
Director of Marketing Geoff Hare said what the Knights did last season was an incredible feat.
“There’s 60 teams that start (the playoffs) to try to win that trophy, and when it goes all the way to May and you’re in a final, there’s five minutes left, you’re down 2-1, next thing you know you rally and you get to overtime, and you win in overtime, to get to those levels, we hold it as special and as high as we possibly can.”
Hare added there will be plenty for the fans to look forward to at games during this season.
Coverage on AM980 begins at 6:30 p.m. with Game Knight, followed by the game against Erie at 7:30 p.m. featuring Mike Stubbs with play-by-play and Jim van Horne with colour commentary.
Photo courtesy of @GoLondonKnights Twitter account