Knights' poker night adds golden sheen

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 1:44 PM ET

The cards were flying, the poker chips rapidly changing hands, but all eyes were glued to the TV set during Thursday night's Canada-Russia gold medal hockey game.

About half of the London Knights roster gathered at the house of A.J. Perry's uncle for some serious Texas hold 'em poker and to watch their buddy David Bolland keep the gold in Canadian hands with a 5-0 victory at the world junior championship in Vancouver.

"It makes you proud. It's good for Canadian hockey," Knights captain Dylan Hunter said. "Winning a gold medal never gets old and it's a great moment for David. It's good for the younger guys on our team who have never seen a gold medal before or played with a world junior player.

"They're here now and they get to hear all the stories from David and Rob (Schremp). It's awesome."

Hunter admitted the card game quickly took a back seat to the game on the screen as the underdog Canadians took charge against wacky British Columbia's second-favourite team -- the Russians.

"Surprisingly, Robbie Drummond was the big poker winner," Hunter said. "We're taking a closer look on the (replay) cameras, though, because we know Drummie's not that good a poker player. We don't know what happened there."

The Knights veterans drew a lot of comparisons to what was happening on the ice at GM Place -- it brought back memories of their greatest triumph, achieved last May.

"When (Peterborough's) Steve Downie scored the first goal, I got chills down my back," London forward Trevor Kell said.

"Watching those guys, it reminded me a lot of playing in the Memorial Cup final. They're both one-shot deals where you can't afford to lose and I thought the Canadians came up with their best effort of the tournament in the final -- just like we did against Rimouski."

Kell, who like Bolland is a draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, has watched his pal put together one of the more successful careers in OHL history.

"A Memorial Cup and a world junior gold -- he has accomplished everything you can at this level," Kell said. "It's a great junior career. We're happy he's back."

Almost as much, he's glad Bolland played a part in confirming what Canadians have always known and are relieved to feel once again.

"It's nice to know we're still the best country in the world when it comes to hockey," Kell said with a grin.


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