Any championship team is always memorable, yet somehow the 2015-16 edition of the London Knights seemed to take being memorable to a new level. They had a flair for the dramatic and realized early on that they were never out of games, manufacturing incredible comebacks at times to win games.
Still, even with the OHL’s most dangerous and productive line, featuring Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk, the Knights were not at the top of standings during the bulk of the regular season and they were certainly no lock for a championship.
A surge toward the end of the year pushed them into a tie with Erie for first overall, but the Otters edged the Knights out of first place on a tiebreaker and London went into the post-season as the number three seed and faced a tough test against Owen Sound.
The Attack took the Knights to six games and forced London to raise their game in order to win.
The Knights’ victory in Game 6 sparked a run that may never be seen again. It was the first of seventeen consecutive victories, all the way to the Memorial Cup championship, which London captured in overtime against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, in Red Deer, Alta.
They will join the 2004-05 Memorial Cup champion London Knights in the hall.
Other inductees include:
Dorinda “Dinnie” Greenway
Greenway became one of the first women to compete internationally in equestrian and was the first winner of the modern-day show jumping competition at the 1949 Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.
Her accomplishments as a competitor were outstanding, but her contribution to the sport of equestrian and to the London community stretched far beyond that. Greenway’s family are renowned for being the first to breed true sport horses, even being called “the” family of the horse show world.
The McCormick Home has also been near and dear to Greenway. The Dinnie Greenway Award is presented annually to a McCormick Home staff member who demonstrates commitment to the mission the home strives for in its non-profit efforts in long-term care.
Greenway continues to ride well into her 90s.
Hackett played 15 years at the highest level of hockey. He logged almost 30,000 minutes in an NHL net and made almost 13,000 saves.
From the London Diamonds to the Oshawa Generals, Hackett was a difference-maker very early on, recording the lowest goals-against average among OHL rookies in 1986-87.
His professional career took him from the New York Islanders to San Jose to Chicago to Montreal and then to Boston and Philadelphia.
One of Hackett’s best seasons came in 1996-97 when his play was largely the reason that Chicago traded Ed Belfour to the Sharks. Hackett backed up their decision with eight shutouts in 1997-98.
McNeil was a star with the Saunders Sabres in high school and found himself recruited by Kent State.
From the Golden Flashes, McNeil moved to the Canadian Football League in 1994 where he would begin a professional career that yielded two Grey Cup Championships. He was also named a Western All-Star five times and an All-Canadian three times.
McNeil retired from football at the age of 37, giving and taking punishment in the trenches before taking a job in the oil industry.
McNeil left as one of the most respected Stampeder players on and off the field.
Every time you walk through the doors of a GoodLife Fitness Studio, you are experiencing the vision of one of London’s most successful businesspeople. David Patchell-Evans began to really work out as part of his rehabilitation following a serious motorcycle crash that occurred while he was in university at Western.
Patchell-Evans transferred to physical education and purchased the gym he was working out at using money from a snow plow business that he owned. The growth that he engineered can hardly be measured. Patchell-Evans is a world-renowned fitness advocate and has received honours such as “Most Innovative CEO” and “Best-Managed Company.”
His philanthropy work has changed the lives of thousands and his contributions to autism research have had resounding effects in the medical community.
If you wanted to know what was happening in the OHL and CASCAR worlds in the 1990s and early 2000s, there was only one place to turn. Jim Cressman broke story after story and covered both beats (and others) with tremendous detail and passion.
Cressman brought players, games, races and events to life on the pages of the London Free Press and added to his hockey coverage in The Hockey News each week.
Also an accomplished umpire on the diamond, Cressman’s involvement in the sports world and the community have never gone unnoticed.