Knights open against Sting

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

The London Knights will open the 2007-08 OHL regular season at home against Steve Stamkos and the Sarnia Sting in what could spark a rekindling of the southwestern Ontario hockey rivalry.

The Knights, who will seek a fifth straight Hamilton Spectator Trophy as OHL regular season champions, take on a Sarnia team hoping to finally make the leap into the league's elite on Sept. 21 at the John Labatt Centre.

It's a switch from the last two seasons, when London opened at home against the Saginaw Spirit, and will mark the first of six games against the Sting. Other encounters include the annual New Year's Eve and Day home-and-home series (at the JLC on Dec. 31 and in Sarnia on Jan. 1) that fall during the world junior hockey championship and this time, the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge to be held in London.

A week after the opener, the Knights play their second game at home against the Windsor Spitfires -- a big contest for London's newly acquired forward Akim Aliu, a former Windsor first-round draft pick who was traded to Sudbury as a rookie as part of the fallout from a hazing controversy that shook the organization.

This season, London returns to the Niagara region on Oct. 18 and plays against a St. Catharines-based team for the first time in 30 years when they face the relocated Niagara IceDogs at the old Jack Gatecliff Arena. The Knights won't play at the cozy St. Michael's College School Arena again now that the Majors have moved to Mississauga and will occupy the Hershey Centre.

London's first chance to avenge the team that knocked it out of the playoffs comes at home on Oct. 26: against Plymouth. The defending OHL champs won all three playoff games against the Knights at the JLC in their five-game victory in the Western Conference final.


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