Knights faithful throng session

MELINDA DALTON, Free Press Reporter

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

More than 1,000 London Knights fans got autographs but hundreds were turned away in a last chance to get signatures from Canada's top junior hockey team yesterday.

One London mother, who stood outside the arena with her young son for more than two hours, was left fuming after being denied just as they neared the front of the line.

"They knew they only had one hour (to let fans in) and they should have clearly set a limit," said Megan Janssen, who went home empty-handed with four-year-old son Ezra.

Fans started lining up for a one-hour autograph session, and a 30-minute chance to make charity donations, hours before the John Labatt Centre opened at 5:30 p.m.

Those sessions were a prelude to a 7 p.m. public awards ceremony for the Knights, who last week won the Memorial Cup as the top junior team.

By the time the autograph session started, the lineup to get in had circled the arena.

The cutoff for autograph seekers was about 6:25 p.m., leaving many in line upset -- especially after all the attention the city had lavished on the Knights in the Memorial Cup tournament a week earlier.

"My son's such a huge fan. He thinks he's part of the team," said Janssen, whose son hoped to get a hat and flag signed by hero Knights Brandon Prust and Corey Perry.

Knights marketing manager Stephanie Turnbull said big crowds were expected but the focus was the awards, not just the autograph session.

Fans could still watch the ceremony, she said.


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