Knights trade Kell to Sting

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

First, Mark Hunter traded over-age forward Trevor Kell to Sarnia.

Then the London Knights GM drove the newest member of the Sting to meet his teammates.

Here's the topper: neither felt the hour-long trip together on Highway 402 would be awkward considering Hunter had just dealt away one of the few remaining members of London's 2005 Memorial Cup champions, a hard-working forward willing to do anything -- including play defence -- to help the Knights win.

"The last three years in London have been the best three years of my life," the 20-year-old Kell said after packing his gear and saying his goodbyes at the John Labatt Centre. "It's not all that surprising because we knew there were too many bodies here. I wanted to be a top-two line guy, to put up some offensive numbers this year, and the Hunters are sending me to Sarnia, where I hope to get that chance."

London got back its own second-round draft pick in 2007 and Sarnia's fifth-rounder in 2008 in the deal. Kell's departure, together with Jordan Foreman's foot injury and Josh Beaulieu being away at Philadelphia Flyers camp, means the Knights could start the season Friday with just one regular contributor to its 2005 Cup, forward Robbie Drummond.

Hunter cleared his schedule to get Kell set up with Sting head coach Dave MacQueen, a Woodstock native and former junior linemate of Knights coach Dale Hunter.

"I had something else going on (a Meet the Knights function at Labatt's Amber Lounge), but it was important to do this," Hunter said. "People remember the line that shut down Sidney Crosby in the Memorial Cup. Trevor was a big part of that. He was here for the good times and he's a character kid. When you trade someone like him, you always worry about the chemistry and if he was the glue that held it together."

Kell never asked for anything from the team and never whined about his position. The Thunder Bay native was in the mix to be voted London's captain this season.

"It's like trading away one of your sons," Dale Hunter said. "He was a big part of this for three years and helped us win a lot of games. We asked him to play defence last year, then forward, then back on defence again. We know the kind of players Dave (MacQueen) likes and we want Trevor to do well -- except against the Knights. He's playing for a pro contract and he won't have to worry about having to switch between forward and defence. They have lots of D-men there."

Kell returns to face London at the JLC on Oct. 27.

"I told the guys, 'Good luck, I'll see you soon and keep your head up on the ice,' " Kell said with a grin.


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