Hockey; the ultimate family game. Whether it be your teammates that become family, playing on the same team as a sibling, or watching the game with family, there’s no denying that the word “family” fits the description of the game of hockey.
On Tuesday afternoon the London Knights introduced a new hall of fame to honour the late Don Brankley. Brankley was the Knights trainer for 28 years before passing away in 2017.
Six London Knights Alumni were inducted into the inaugural class, and will forever be on the Hall of Fame wall located at section 309-310 in Budweiser Gardens.
Walt McKechnie, Dennis Maruk, Tim Taylor, Chris Taylor, Rob Schremp, and Dave Lowry are the first individuals to have the great honour of being inducted. The legends were honoured in a homecoming ceremony before London hosted the Guelph Storm.
Walt McKenchnie was apart of the London Nationals organization before London was sanctioned a Jr. A team. “I have so many great memories, we had such a great bond. Every single player shared that bond,” said an emotional McKenchnie. “It was great hockey, and we would pack that barn every game, and look now there’s 10, 000 people watching these games every Friday night.”
2005 Memorial Cup Champion Robbie Schremp was a large part of the organization for four seasons and says that being a Knight and knowing Don Brankley changed his life.
“Branks was a great guy, he would do a little something special for those good players. Corey Perry was a good player, he deserved a little bit extra and Branks gave that to him. He was a father figure, did anything for the boys and that’s why people still talk about him.”
Brother’s Chris and Tim Taylor got to share the moment together, as they were both inducted Tuesday.
Both the Taylor’s played at the old gardens on Wellington back in the day.
“Taylor family reunions were held here on Friday nights” said Tim.
Younger brother Chris who is now the head coach of the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres top farm team) could not stop giving thanks to the Knights organization and to both Dale and Mark Hunter.
Dennis Maruk who won rookie of the year with the Knights said “When I was first traded to the Knights I didn’t want to come here. I wanted to stay in Toronto. But once I got here the organization just wanted me to go out their and play, and it was just an honour to be here.”
“The six men that we have inducted into the first class of the hall of fame are the history of the London Knights, I could go on and on about what they brought to the organization, they did a lot of special things, and we want to reward them” said Mark Hunter (Knights General Manager and Vice President.)
The inductees were honoured again before puck drop Tuesday night in front of 9,000 plus fans. London did end up losing 7-5 to Guelph, and have now lost two straight.
They welcome the new and improved Saginaw Spirit to town Friday night at 7:30pm.