Storm hoping for London fan support in Memorial Cup final

Will London Knights fans cheer on the Guelph Storm in the Memorial Cup final Sunday? (QMI Agency)

Will London Knights fans cheer on the Guelph Storm in the Memorial Cup final Sunday? (QMI Agency)

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:20 PM ET

LONDON, ONT. - The Guelph Storm destroyed the mood at the Memorial Cup.

Now, it's up to them to rebuild it.

With the Knights done, Cup organizers will put a lot of effort into ensuring the House of Green at Budweiser Gardens becomes a Storm-y Sea of Crimson at Sunday's final.

Based on the few who hung around to see the conclusion of Tuesday's double-overtime Val d'Or-Edmonton tilt, there won't be a lot of hope to fill the joint for Friday's semifinal.

“Hopefully, we're the de facto home team with Guelph fans coming down,” Storm head coach Scott Walker said. “Maybe people coming from London will cheer for us, too. We'll see, but it's still exciting for the (city of Guelph) that we're in it.”

It will be hard for Knights fans to swallow their pride and root for the team that ended their season – twice. There's that, and effective super-pest Tyler Bertuzzi, too.

“I think at the end of this,” Guelph GM Mike Kelly said with a laugh, “some people might want to adopt him.”

Kelly is planning on meeting with Cup chair Trevor Whiffen, the Knights governor, and checking with the Hunters to see what can be done to get more tickets into the hands of Storm supporters.

“With all due respect to the London fans who bought all these packages, now without their home team in it, I'm sure a lot of them are prepared to move their final game,” Kelly said, “and I'm sure there's a lot of people from Guelph prepared to pay for it.”

They probably won't have to pay a premium. This isn't exactly the 2005 powerhouse host Knights against Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic.

Unfortunately, when the home team goes out on the Wednesday, it takes a little bit of the wind out of the sails and changes the dynamic of the building,” Kelly said. “If we can put a little bit of wind back in, we're fully open to trying. We had 5,000 people come to most games this year and I bet there's a couple of thousand who would love the opportunity to come to this final. It's just a matter of co-ordinating it, getting the wor​d out, and how many tickets are available.”

The end of this Cup might be salvaged based on Guelph being only an 75-minute drive away.

“We'd like nothing more to become the unofficial host team over the weekend and fill the beer tents and create that festive atmosphere that's so important to this event,” Kelly said. “The organizers here have done such a superb job, there's been no stone unturned and we're certainly hoping those London fans will be Ontario fans for that final game.”

That will be a hard call.

The wound they inflicted on this city is still pretty fresh.

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