Young Hunter never doubted family promise

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

It's about growing up Hunter.

When young Dylan heard his father, Dale, and uncle, Mark, state publicly that they would deliver a Memorial Cup to London Knights fans, he knew they would be true to their word.

Dylan was about to turn 15 when his dad and uncle bought the team in May 2000 and the first thing out of their mouths was the promise of the franchise's first Ontario Hockey League crown and a Memorial Cup championship.

What Dylan didn't know was that, five years later, he would be a vital part of that drive.

"I've known them my whole life and I know when they put their mind to something, I know they're going to come through with it and so far they've done it," Dylan said yesterday as the Knights looked forward to tomorrow's Memorial Cup final against either Rimouski or Ottawa.

Dylan has observed every move made by his father and uncle to get the team to this point.

"They made some huge moves and some moves people questioned," he said. "They traded (goalie) Ryan MacDonald and traded a lot of picks away for (forward) Danny Fritsche, but it's worked out and it shows and that's what they wanted."

Dylan said the players also want to win this as much for the long-suffering Knights fans as the ownership does. The first OHL title took 40 years.

"This (Memorial Cup) would be a great present to them (the fans)," Dylan said. "They've treated me and they've treated the team so well . . . they're the best in the OHL."

Hunter said the players intentionally put a lot of pressure on themselves to win this since the first day of training camp nine months ago.

Just to drive it home, they went public with it.

"We've talked about how it would be great to come out and know we met our goals from the beginning of the year," he said.

"We said we've played together for three years now and there's nothing less, we want nothing less than the Memorial Cup -- and we kind of made a pact there and so far we've followed through on it.

"Every team needs a little pressure to perform and if you say something out loud, you've got to back it up and so far we have . . . just one more game."


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