GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- London Knights coach Dale Hunter should consider applying to coach Canada at the world junior hockey championship. He's put three players in this year's tournament and he bears a striking similarity to Brent Sutter, head coach of the Canadian team.
Corey Perry, Danny Syvret and Rob Schremp all say they wouldn't be here if it weren't for Hunter.
Perry and Syvret are with Canada. Schremp is with the defending champion U.S.
There are numerous similarities.
Sutter, owner, GM and coach of the WHL Red Deer Rebels, played 18 seasons in the NHL.
Hunter, co-owner and coach of the Knights, spent 19 years in the NHL.
Both come from hockey families. Sutter's brothers Ron, Rich, Brian, Darryl and Duane all had long NHL careers.
Hunter's brother, Mark, also played in the NHL.
The Sutters and Hunters are farmers, the Sutters in Alberta, the Hunters in Southwestern Ontario.
While Dale Hunter has three players here, Sutter has four -- Dion Phaneuf and Colin Fraser with Canada, Mikko Kuukka with Finland and Roman Wick with Switzerland.
"They're both guys that demand perfection and they want the best out of you every shift, every game, every night," Perry said of the two coaches yesterday. "You can't take a day off practice because you don't know where you'll be the next game. You could be on the bench, so you just have to work hard every day."
Perry said Hunter's coaching style "definitely prepared me for this.
"He's taught a lot of people along the way. Look at Schrempie, too. He's come a long way since he's come to London, too (in the trade from Mississauga last season).
"They both demand perfection. They both want strong defensive play and you have to be strong defensively just to get on the ice because if you're not, you're not going to get on the ice."
It's interesting that with the same NHL backgrounds, Hunter and Sutter preach the same things.
"Dale's tactic in London is being strong defensively and offence second, and that's helped me make this team," Perry said.
"He can coach this team. He's played in the NHL. He's been there and he's been through everything."
Hockey Canada head scout Blair Mackasey has seen enough of the Knights to know how much Hunter helped the three players get here.
"Dale Hunter has helped all those guys," Mackasey said.
"Dale Hunter is a huge factor in the success of that London team. He's got a lot of talent there, but he knows how to keep them in line.
"He's similar in some respects to Brent in the way he coaches. I think Dale's really fair with his guys. I think he's really square with them, but at the same time, he's not afraid to lower the boom. He's got the hammer and you need that."
Syvret echoed Perry in saying both coaches "are very intense and very demanding and that's best type of coach.
"You want people who are demanding and if you give it your all, then you'll be out next shift."