London Knights of 2004-05 named CHL Team of the Century

London Knights Corey Perry(bottom right) and teammates celebrate as they pose for a team photo following their 4-0 win over the Rimouski Oceanic at the Memorial Cup in London, Ont. Sunday May 29, 2005. (CP PHOTO/Nathan Denette). Nathan Dennette/Canadian Press

They opened the season with a record 31-game unbeaten streak.

They lost just nine times in the 90 games they played all year.

They won the London Knights’ first Ontario Hockey League championship and then went on to capture the Memorial Cup on their home ice in front of their own fans.

The 2004-05 Knights team was definitely special. As the 100th edition of the Memorial Cup tournament came to a close in Regina, Sask., on Sunday night, that London team was declared the most special team ever as they were named Team of the Century, following an online competition to celebrate the centennial of the event.

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The roster featured offensive stars like Corey Perry. Rob Schremp and Dave Bolland. It had a top-four defence corps that will rank among the all-time best in captain Danny Syvret, Marc Methot, Dan Girardi and Londoner Bryan Rodney. As good as the team was, it actually had five home-grown London players. Rodney was joined by Brandon Prust and Rob Drummond and youngsters Scott Aarssen and Ryan Martinelli.

It was also coached by Dale Hunter.

“That season was one filled with records, unbelievable accomplishments, but most of all, many extraordinary young men, many of whom went on to successful NHL careers,” said Hunter.

A total of 11 players from 2004-05 played at least one National Hockey League game. Perry and Bolland have their name on the Stanley Cup and Perry and Girardi are still playing in the NHL.

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The team swept up the city of London and much of the hockey world that year due to the NHL lockout and subsequent cancellation of the NHL season.

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Many eyes were on the Knights to see if they could finish their own fairy tale that May. To do it, they had to go through Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic twice. Although most of the attention will always fall on London’s 4-0 shutout win in the Memorial Cup final, many fans who were there will tell you that the tournament opener between the teams in which the Knights fought back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Rimouski 4-3 in overtime on a game-winner by Methot was one of the best hockey games they have ever seen.

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“We are appreciative of everyone who voted for us,” said Hunter. “Once again this is a testament to our amazing fan base here in London. We are incredibly proud of this team, our fan base and everyone involved in that unforgettable season.

The other finalists for Team of the Century were the 1995 Kamloops Blazers, the 2000 Rimouski Oceanic and the 2013 Halifax Mooseheads.

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