Parkwood linked to Cup

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

In another era, the six young men seated before him would have been asked to don military uniforms instead of the hockey uniforms they were wearing, noted Trevor Whiffen, a governor of the London Knights. Yesterday at Parkwood Hospital's auditorium, the local Memorial Cup committee officially recognized the veterans' unit as the official charity of the season-ending junior hockey tournament to be held in London May 20-29.

The Memorial Cup, symbolic of junior hockey supremacy in Canada, will include 10 days of events in downtown London, from which some of the revenues will be directed to Parkwood.

"In another time of our history these young men might be asked to trade in their hockey uniforms for military uniforms and be returning as war heroes instead," Whiffen, host committee chairperson, told an assembly of Parkwood residents who indicated they eagerly watch the exploits of the Knights on television.

The six Knights in attendance -- Danny Syvret, Corey Perry, Brandon Prust, Kelly Thomson, Robbie Drummond and Bryan Rodney -- responded by signing posters and handing out Knights hats and posing for pictures.

The dedication of charitable donations to the veterans' unit is appropriate, said Mike Boucher of St. Joseph's Health Care London, under which Parkwood operates.

The year 2005 has been designated as the-year of the veteran (the 60th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War) and it is the 40th anniversary of the Knights, he said. A poppy has officially been added to the Memorial Cup logo with the words Lest We Forget.

London's bid to play host to the Memorial Cup -- in which the London Knights are guaranteed a spot as host -- has promised the Ontario Hockey League a minimum profit of $1.1 million with a projected net profit as much as $1.6 million to be shared equally by the 20 OHL teams.

The committee is seeking 500 volunteers for the events. Go to the Knights' website to sign up (www.londonknights.com).


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