Between them, they have won the past two Memorial Cups.
The London Knights and Mitch Vande Sompel are now on the same side. London acquired the 19-year old defenceman from the Oshawa Generals on Monday for 17-year old defenceman Ian Blacker and draft picks.
Vande Sompel (pictured) was a key player on the Generals Memorial Cup winning team in 2015. He had five goals and 14 points in the playoffs and another two assists in the tournament that saw Oshawa defeat the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 in overtime in Quebec City.
Vande Sompel tells AM 980 he was about to step onto the ice, when everyone went pouring over the boards after Anthony Cirelli’s winning goal.
“I was up next, actually, so I was already standing up and then to just see it. It happened so fast and the next thing you know everyone is on the ice and the gloves and the helmets are off… not many players get to experience that, so it’s something you can never forget.”
As a player who came up through the London Jr. Knights’ organization it will be very special for Vande Sompel to wear a Knights’ sweater in what will very likely be the last few months of his Ontario Hockey League career.
Vande Sompel was a third round pick of the New York Islanders in 2015 and will likely head to the American Hockey League and the Islanders farm team in Bridgeport next year, if he does not make the big club’s roster.
Although, he still has something to prove in junior after not receiving an invitation to Team Canada’s final selection camp.
“Obviously getting left off of World Juniors is something you don’t want to have happen, but at the same time you can’t carry that in a negative way and you have to have a positive attitude toward your team and try to use it.”
Vande Sompel will make his Knights’ debut on Friday at Budweiser Gardens as London plays host to the Saginaw Spirit.
In a separate deal, the Knights acquired winger Dante Salituro and an 8th round draft pick in 2021 for over-age defenceman Chris Martenet, a 2nd round pick in 2021, a 3rd round pick in 2018, and a 15th round selection in 2021.
Note: Knights’ goalie, Tyler Parsons will be honoured before that game after leading Team USA to gold at the World Junior Hockey Championship.