|London native Mike Van Ryn recorded 11 points in 27 games last season for the Leafs. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)
It's one exhibition game that won't have a problem selling out.
The Philadelphia Flyers and the Toronto Maple Leafs will play a September 17th exhibition game at the John Labatt Centre.
It will be the sixth time the Flyers have played an exhibition game at the JLC. Last year they brought in the New York Islanders.
"It's great to have the Leafs here," said Brian Ohl, general manager of the John Labatt Centre. "The popularity of the Leafs speaks for itself. The phones are already ringing. E-mails are flying. There is a buzz about it."
No matter how badly the Maple Leafs are playing, they are always a huge draw.
The Leafs have some additional attractions this year. General manager Brian Burke is giving them a major makeover. London fans will get a chance to see some of the big off-season acquisitions including The Monster, goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.
It may also give Londoners a chance to see one of the London Knights' favourite sons in Maple Leaf blue and white.
Nazem Kadri was selected in the first round, No. 7 overall, by the Maple Leafs in June's NHL draft. Most observers believe making the team will be a long shot for Kadri but he could well be playing for the Leafs in this exhibition game.
"I'm in Toronto right now doing some stuff with the Leafs and I just heard about it," Kadri said. "Man, it would be great to be able to play in London in that game.
"We just have to wait and see, but I never would have thought a year ago that I would be in a situation where I could be playing an NHL exhibition game in London."
Ohl said the exhibition game is discussed a year in advance.
"Every year I talk to Peter Luukko, (Global Spectrum chair) and we talk about teams we like," said Ohl. "The Leafs always come up and this year, we got them. We had a pretty good idea the Leafs would be here when they drafted Nazem so we were excited about that."
That wouldn't be the only local connection with the Maple Leafs. London native Mike Van Ryn recorded 11 points in 27 games last season for the Leafs.
The Flyers have been highly successful playing in London, winning four-of-the-five games played here, losing only to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers have their own local connection. Londoner Jeff Carter has established himself as one of the NHL's best young players.
Carter had a big year last year. He led the Flyers in scoring with 84 points, 12th in the NHL. His 46 goals put him in second in goalscoring in the league, leading in game winners with 12. He was also at plus-23.
Fans might also get a chance to see Danny Syvret in action. Syvret captained the 2005-Memorial Cup winning Knights team. He played the majority of last season with the Flyers American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, where he finished with 57 points in 76 games. He played two games with the Flyers.
Having Carter, Kadri and Syvret on the ice would be quite an attraction.
Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. and are available at the John Labatt Centre Box Office, Fanshawe College BizBooth, The Bookstore at Western and Books Plus. They can be charged by phone at (866)-455-2849 or order online at www.johnlabattcentre.com. Ticket prices range from $46.75 to $96.75 including GST.