The London Knights are about to add some high-profile offensive punch to their lineup for the 2006-07 season.
With training camp set to begin tomorrow, sources say the Ontario Hockey League's defending Western Conference champions are on the verge of locking up long-coveted, 17-year-old scoring sensation Pat Kane, who is expected to arrive today from his home in Buffalo.
The talented five-foot-10 forward, London's fifth-round pick (88th overall) in the 2004 draft and a prospective high-end National Hockey league selection next year, carefully weighed his options this summer and delayed making his decision until after skating at the U.S. world junior training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., last week.
Kane was approached by such highly regarded U.S. college programs as the University of Michigan, Boston College and the University of Wisconsin, but would have been unable to join an NCAA program until he completes his high school requirements early next year.
Kane's presence in London would go a long way to helping offset the loss of top scorers Rob Schremp, David Bolland and Dylan Hunter to graduation to the pro ranks.
A wizard with a hockey stick, Kane scored seven times -- including the tournament winner over Finland -- and averaged two points a game in leading the U.S. to gold at the world under-18 championship in Sweden last April. Playing for the U.S. national team development program this past year, Kane passed Phil Kessel's scoring record (98 points) with 52 goals and 102 points in 58 games.
A former star with the Detroit Honeybaked '88s, Kane visited the John Labatt Centre this spring to watch the Knights advance to a second straight championship series with a win over the Guelph Storm in Game 5 of the Western Conference final. "The fans here are unbelievable and this building is unbelievable," he told The Free Press at the time.