Mimico parties with Bolland

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Tuesday night, the boys at the Blue Goose Tavern in Mimico were a little too busy to bother about Brendan Shanahan and his Detroit Red Wings losing to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The evening belonged to Mimico's other favourite son, London Knights star David Bolland, who went home to his Toronto village for a late party to celebrate his victory with the Canadian team at last week's world junior hockey championships in Vancouver.

"It was unbelievable," the 19-year-old said yesterday after returning to the Knights for practice. "I had the gold medal there and everyone came out to celebrate. It was great to see family and old friends and people I grew up with. Everyone was congratulating me and it was a good time."

There weren't any bagpipes or tartans visible at the Blue Goose to fete Bolland, but there were pictures of Shanahan and Bolland, whose families have known each other for years through lacrosse.

"When my dad (Drew) emigrated to Canada from Scotland, he basically didn't know anything about hockey," Bolland said. "But my uncle and my brother were big into it and I started playing and loved it. I talked to my dad after we won the gold medal and he was very happy for me.

"He already had a couple of (celebratory) beers, so you could barely understand him (with his Scottish brogue), but he was proud and the people of Mimico were happy for me. It's a small place and everyone pretty much knows each other."

A handful of Bolland's teammates from London, including Rob Schremp and Dylan Hunter, made the trip to join the party. The players see each other every day during the OHL season, but rarely do they get to examine their buddies' roots up close away from the arena.

"It was kind of cool to see David in his environment," London forward Kris Belan said. "The Blue Goose is a typical pub with big-screen TVs, but there's definitely a small-town feel to it. Everyone knew David. He's obviously a big deal there. I think there was a letter from the mayor there congratulating him."

Bolland isn't one to forget where he comes from, symbolized by a tattoo on his back of the maple leaf with "Mimico" written in the spot usually reserved for "Canada."

A frequent dinner guest of Knights equipment manager Chris Maton in Lambeth, Bolland surprised with a Christmas Day call from training camp in B.C. to see how the family was doing.

Earlier this season, he took over from goalie Gerald Coleman as the Knights' ambassador for KidSport, which gathers equipment so kids in need can play the games they love.

That kind of behaviour likely won't stop when Bolland starts shooting for the big time next year in the Chicago Blackhawks organization. He knows how important the foundation he has built for himself will be when he's competing for a spot on a team with a lot of hungry young players and a club that had the most prospects participating in the world junior tournament.

"It's a good situation," Bolland said. "We're going to have one of the most talented young teams in the league and I think it's going to be a good place to be."

For now, Bolland will try to help keep the Knights atop the OHL's Western conference, continue his battle with teammate Rob Schremp and Owen Sound's Bobby Ryan for the league's scoring title and steer London to another Memorial Cup berth.

If he makes it happen, he can count on yet another party at the 'ol Blue Goose.

KNIGHTWATCH

Friday: at Sudbury, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday: at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday: The Knights will be at Harvey's on Fanshawe Park Road at 1 p.m. Fans can buy a toque for autism that day for $10.


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