Knights trade Hunter kin

Logan Hunter, a nephew of Knights co-owners Dale and Mark Hunter, was traded to the Peterborough...

Logan Hunter, a nephew of Knights co-owners Dale and Mark Hunter, was traded to the Peterborough Petes yesterday. (London Free Press/Morris Lamont)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

It wasn't an easy decision, but in the end it was a decision that had to be made.

The Hunters traded one of their own.

Needing to address the overcrowded situation among their over-age players, the London Knights traded centre Logan Hunter to the Peterborough Petes yesterday.

The Knights will get back a seventh-round pick in the 2005 draft, which could turn into a pick as high as the fifth round, depending on how well the Petes do this year.

Logan Hunter is the nephew of owner and general manager Mark Hunter and owner and coach Dale Hunter.

Given the reputation the Hunters have of loyalty and the closeness as a family, the decision to trade Logan was excruciatingly difficult. He played four years with the Knights, the first few turning out to be lean years as the Hunters rebuilt the franchise. Now, in a year when the Knights are guaranteed a Memorial Cup tournament berth, the numbers dictate he has to be traded.

How difficult is that?

But if there's one thing the Hunters understand as much as family, it's hockey, and when the decision is analysed from a hockey standpoint, there wasn't much else the Knights could do.

The Knights had Logan Hunter, Rick Steadman and Brandon Prust coming back as over-age players this year. They then traded for all-star blue-liner Bryan Rodney from the Kingston Frontenacs, also an over-age player.

Prust is virtually an untouchable. That left a choice to be made between Steadman, who is also a nephew of the Hunters, and Logan Hunter.

Steadman is a versatile player who can kill penalties and can play defence if needed.

Logan broke his ankle in an exhibition game and hasn't played yet this year. He has had the hard cast removed but is not ready to skate yet.

"You look at Brandon Prust and he's a real good player and if there's one thing hockey teams need, it's defencemen, and Bryan is a high-quality defenceman," Mark Hunter said.

"Rick's been playing and he can play D, but basically I don't know why it was Logan. I don't have an easy answer for it."

We did say how difficult this was, didn't we?

"The business doesn't get any harder than this," Hunter continued. "Logan is family. He's worked on the farm. We see him on a daily basis. I can't describe how this feels.

"But the move is one that was made with our team and the hockey player in mind."

It may not be any consolation but it was the only move that made sense.

Hunter, 20, was the Knights' second-round pick, 24th overall, in the 2000 draft. During his four seasons in London, he scored 50 goals and 66 assists, with 489 minutes in penalties.

Hunter was named the Knights 2001-02 scholastic player of the year. His time with the team was marked by a strong work ethic and grit.

Petes general manager Jeff Twohey knows exactly what he's looking for in Hunter.

"We are a young club and we like what he brings to us," he said. "We like his playoff experience. He's been there four years and he knows what it's like to win.

"He leaves everything on the ice. We have a number of players who do that, but you can never have too many of them. He's smart enough to know that he can be one of the leaders on this team."

The deal has been percolating for a while. Mark Hunter said he talked to Logan and father Ron in the summer about the direction the team might take in the over-age situation.

The Petes only have one over-age player, defenceman Mark Flood.

"He's going to surprise a lot of people and do a good job for the Peterborough Petes," Mark Hunter said of Logan. "There's a lot he can bring to the table and that includes a leadership quality as well."

For the next little while, Logan will remain in London to be treated for his injury.

A family reunion will take place in Peterborough Jan. 20 when the Knights and Petes meet. The Petes play in London Feb. 4.

When the two teams meet, it won't matter how long Logan Hunter played for the Knights. Expect no quarter being asked and none being given.


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