Like Knight and day?

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

As the 2005 Memorial Cup last week ticked toward its expected conclusion on Sunday, London Knights rookie defenceman Steve Ferry couldn't help but look ahead.

The Knights' first-round pick in 2004, Ferry didn't see much ice time during the Cup but knows that will change next season.

"This year has been a learning experience, and even sitting on the bench watching the Memorial Cup was great," Ferry, a native of Richmond Hill, said.

"It's up to me to take advantage of getting more to play more next year."

When Knights fans watch their heroes go past in a parade this afternoon celebrating the first Memorial Cup title in the franchise's 40-year history, they should take a long look.

Deservedly lumped into talk of being among the greatest junior hockey teams in history, the Knights of 2005-06 will be much different.

Gone will be the three overagers -- forward Brandon Prust and defencemen Daniel Girardi and Bryan Rodney -- who played integral roles in the team's Cup charge.

Memorial Cup MVP Corey Perry signed with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks last September and will be in the pros at some level in the fall. Another Knight with NHL aspirations is Dan Fritsche, who played 19 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2003-04.

"Friendships in junior last a lifetime and that's what I am going to take out of this," Perry said.

Goalie Adam Dennis and defenceman Danny Syvret, both born in 1985, are eligible to return as overagers. But it's reasonable to assume they'll at least get a shot in the minors. Ditto for defenceman Marc Methot (Columbus) and forward Dylan Hunter (Buffalo Sabres).

Despite rumours to the contrary, coach/part-owner Dale Hunter insisted the team won't be sold and he said he will be back behind the bench.

Two important forwards who will return are Rob Schremp and David Bolland.

"I think we can still be a contending team," Bolland, of Mimico, said. "No matter what, the younger guys have been able to soak all of this up."

RATINGS BONANZA

The Knights capped the most-watched Memorial Cup tournament ever by winning the crown before the largest TV audience to watch a Canadian Hockey League game.

London's win in Sunday's final drew a record TV audience of 825,000 on Rogers Sportsnet and peaked at 1,020,000.


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