Canadian Hockey League alumni Adam Dennis, Trevor Kell, and Brandon Prust reflect on their experiences with the London Knights during the club’s 2004-05 record breaking season, what made the group special, and the feeling of winning on home ice.
With the NHL on the sidelines during the 2004-05 campaign, all eyes were on the CHL’s national stage that brought an end to a memorable season that saw the London Knights claim the Memorial Cup for the first time in franchise history, doing so in their 40th season.
After putting together a CHL-record 31-game unbeaten streak, the Knights finished atop the standings with a 59-7-2-0 record and 120 points and were the league’s top ranked team from wire-to-wire. London’s domination then continued through the postseason with a 16-2 showing that culminated in a five-game series victory versus the Ottawa 67’s to capture the club’s first J. Ross Robertson Cup.
Moving on to the national level, there was no slowing down for the Knights as the host club was a perfect 3-0 during the round-robin portion at the 2005 Memorial Cup, taking victories versus fellow league title winners in the Rimouski Oceanic and defending champion Kelowna Rockets as well as the OHL runner-up 67’s. Setting up the club’s final opponent, semi-final action saw the Oceanic led by 2005 NHL Draft prodigy and reigning CHL Player of the Year Sidney Crosby oust the 67’s in a 7-4 final, readying for a rematch versus London.
Before an eager home crowd, London got on the board early in the final showdown as forward Dan Fritsche came up with a power-play marker less than four minutes into the initial frame that stood as the eventual game-winner in the 4-0 final. En route to the victory, Knights netminder Adam Dennis turned aside 27 shots, helping him wrap up the year-end tournament with a spectacular .936 save rate through three appearances as he claimed the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the Memorial Cup’s top goaltender in addition to a spot on the Memorial Cup All-Star Team.
Meanwhile, other accolades went to then Anaheim Ducks first-round pick Corey Perry of the Knights who was recognized as the most valuable player after recording seven points counting four goals and three assists through four games while Crosby came away with top scorer honours after collecting six goals and five assists for 11 points in his final four CHL contests. The spotlight continued to shine on league’s first ever back-to-back Player of the Year as the outcome of the NHL Draft Lottery granted the Pittsburgh Penguins the right to select Crosby first overall in the 2005 NHL Draft that summer.
As for the Knights, the 2005 edition was later recognized as the CHL Team of the Century as part of the centennial celebration of the Memorial Cup in 2018.
May 21 – Rimouski 3 vs. London 4 (OT)
May 22 – Ottawa 3 vs. Kelowna 2 (2OT)
May 23 – London 4 vs. Kelowna 2
May 24 – Ottawa 3 vs. Rimouski 4
May 25 – Kelowna 3 vs. Rimouski 4
May 26 – London 5 vs. Ottawa 2
May 28 (Semi-Final) – Ottawa 4 vs. Rimouski 7
May 29 (Final) – Rimouski 0 vs. London 4
Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (MVP) – Corey Perry, London
Ed Chynoweth Trophy (Leading Scorer) – Sidney Crosby, Rimouski
George Parsons Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike) – Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Rimouski
Hap Emms Memorial Trophy (Top Goaltender) – Adam Dennis, London
Forwards: Sidney Crosby (Rimouski), Dan Fritsche (London), Corey Perry (London)
Defence: Mario Scalzo (Rimouski), Danny Syvret (London)
Goaltender: Adam Dennis (London)
G – Mike Wall
D – Mike Card
D – Kyle Cumiskey
D – Shea Weber
F – Troy Bodie
F – Blake Comeau
G – Gerald Coleman
D – Dan Girardi
D – Marc Methot
D – Bryan Rodney
D – Danny Syvret
F – Dave Bolland
F – Dan Fritsche
F – Drew Larman
F – Corey Perry
F – Brandon Prust
F – Rob Schremp
D – Derek Joslin
D – Mark Mancari
F – Bryan Bickell
F – Lukas Kaspar
F – Jamie McGinn
F – Jakub Petruzalek
F – Brad Staubitz
G – Cedrick Desjardins
D – Patrick Coulombe
F – Sidney Crosby
F – Marc-Antoine Pouliot
Relive the action between the Oceanic and Knights on Sunday’s rebroadcast streaming live at 7 p.m. ET on CHL.ca.