Thompson fights way into shape

TERRY KOSHAN, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Corey Perry and Danny Syvret may be poster boys for the skill of the London Knights but they have nothing on teammate Kelly Thomson when it comes to perseverance.

A year ago, Thomson had finished the season with tier-II Sault Ste. Marie and yearned to get a shot with the Knights, his hometown club. But there was a small problem: Thomson was overweight and knew there was no way he was going to get a shot with the Knights unless he changed his lifestyle. And even then, there was no guarantee he would stick. But under a strenuous program with personal trainer Dave Moore last summer, the 5-foot-10 Thomson lost 32 pounds to 200 and earned an invite to camp.

"It has been a long road for me and I learned a lot of lessons along the way," Thomson said. "For a guy in my position, at my age in my first season, it's risky. There's somebody younger who could do the same job.

"It hasn't hit me that we won an OHL championship and I am playing in the biggest hockey tournament in the world right now."

As the Knights tore through opponents this season, Thomson laid into them. He had 15 points in 56 games but dropped the gloves 18 times, endearing himself to his teammates and the coaching staff.

"It's a great story," Knights assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu said. "All Kelly wanted from us was a chance to get into the lineup and then he was going to prove his point that he belonged. He just never gave up."

Though Thomson said he didn't feel completely comfortable until the trade deadline passed, he played a major role in the Knights' 31-game unbeaten streak, a Canadian Hockey League record. He scored the winning goal in the game in which London tied the then-CHL record of 29 without a loss. As such, Thomson's stick was sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"It's kind of amazing," Thomson said. "It still blows my mind that somewhere in the Hall of Fame is my stick. I have to find out where it is. It's probably in a closet."


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