London Nationals


London Nationals

----Hockey team |CAN_eng = 1
team = London Nationals

city = London, Ontario
league = Ontario Hockey Association
operated = 1965-1968
arena = London Gardens
colours = Blue & White
parentclub = Toronto Maple Leafs
name1 = London Nationals
dates1 = 1965-1968
name2 = London Knights
dates2 = 1968-Present
The London Nationals were a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey Association, who played for three seasons before being renamed to the London Knights. The team played out of the London Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada.

History

The London Nationals were granted a franchise in the OHA for the 1965-66 season under the ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Upon the collapse of the Metro Junior A League in 1963, the Leafs were left with only one sponsored OHA team with which to place their prospects. They wanted a team in London to replace the old Toronto St. Michael's Majors, who had folded a couple years previous. The Leafs originally wanted the Nationals to begin play in 1963-64, but it wasn't until a year later that the Nats became the Leafs' second team, joining the Toronto Marlboros. Prior to 1965, the Nationals had played in the Western Junior B league, and had won the championship there in 1952, 1964 and 1965.

The Nationals were named for their sponsor the Canadian National Recreation Association, an organization of Canadian National Railways employees, and took their uniforms as copies of those of the Maple Leafs, except for the words "London Nationals" spelled out on the Leaf instead of the familiar Toronto Maple Leafs script.

Brian Murphy played the most games for the Nationals, 98 in total over three seasons. Garry Unger lead the team in career goals with 42 in only 50 games. Walt McKechnie was their all-time point leader with 26 goals, and 74 assists, totalling 100 points.

After three seasons, direct NHL sponsorship of junior teams ended. The team was sold by the Leafs to businessman Howard Darwin, who renamed the team to the Knights and changed the colours to green and gold.

Coaches

The London Nationals were coached by Jack McIntyre for the 1965-66 season. For their second and third seasons from 1966-68, the Nationals were coached by Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Turk Broda.

NHL alumni

Darryl Sittler played 54 games for the London Nationals during the 1967-68 season, scoring 22 goals and 41 assists as a rookie. He later played 15 NHL seasons from 1970 to 1985, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.

List of alumni who also played in the National Hockey League. [ [http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/SearchPlayersByTeam.jsp?team=London+Nationals www.legendsofhockey.net] ]


*Barry Boughner
*Bob Cook
*Jim Dorey
*Darryl Edestrand
*Rocky Farr

*John Gould
*Brent Imlach
*Rick Kessell
*Rick MacLeish
*Brian Marchinko

*Walt McKechnie
*Brian Murphy
*Randy Murray
*Ted Ouimet

*Darryl Sittler
*Jim Stanfield
*Garry Unger
*Bert Wilson

eason-by-season results

;Regular season

;Playoffs
*1965-66 Out of playoffs.
*1966-67 Lost to Niagara Falls Flyers 8 points to 4 in quarterfinals.
*1967-68 Lost to Hamilton Red Wings 8 points to 2 in quarterfinals.

Arena

The Nationals played their home games at the London Gardens for three seasons, which was also briefly known as the Treasure Island Gardens during their residency there.

:Capacity = 5,075:Ice Size = 190' X 85'

* [http://www.ohlarenaguide.com/ldngardens.htm London Gardens] The OHL Arena & Travel Guide

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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