Five members of the London Knights coaching staff and front office began their playing careers in the OHL and have come back to give back to the league that developed them. Three of the five played their Ontario Hockey League (OHA, OMJHL, OHL – it’s all the same…) careers with London.
Dale Hunter has left his post as the head coach of the London Knights for the same position with the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals. However, he remains president and co-owner of the Knights. Hunter played in the OHL for three seasons from 1977-78 to 1979-80. He played his first season with the Kitchener Rangers and the following two with the Sudbury Wolves. In his second season, he totaled 110 points in 59 games with the Wolves.
Dale was a second round pick of the Quebec Nordiques at the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, 41st overall. From 1980-81 to 1998-99, Hunter played 1,409 regular season NHL games with the Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche. He was captain of the Capitals from 1994-95 to 1998-99 and his number 32 is one of just four Washington Capitals retired numbers. Hunter was head coach of the Knights from 2001-02 until the fall of 2011 when he replaced Bruce Boudreau behind the Capitals bench.
Mark Hunter is general manager, vice-president, co-owner and, now, head coach of the London Knights. Mark played two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, 1979-80 and 1980-81, with the Brantford Alexanders. In 119 OHL regular season games, Hunter totaled 168 points. He was selected seventh overall at the 1981 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. Mark has been general manager of the Knights since 2000-01.
Mark played 628 regular season NHL games from 1981-82 to 1992-93 with the Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Hartford Whalers and Washington Capitals. In 1985-86, Hunter scored 44 goals with the St. Louis Blues. He was part of the 1988-89 Calgary Flames Stanley Cup winning team.
Basil McRae co-owns the Knights with the Hunter Brothers. McRae played three seasons with the Knights from 1978-79 to 1980-81. Basil was a fifth round pick of the Quebec Nordiques at the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 87th overall. He played in 576 NHL regular season games from 1981-82 to 1992-93 with the Nordiques, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.
Basil sits 24th all-time in career penalty minutes in the NHL. He sat out 2,457 minutes over his career. In 1989-90, with the Minnesota North Stars, McRae led the NHL in penalty minutes with 351.
Dylan Hunter, son of Dale, played five seasons with London from 2001-02 to 2005-06 and was team captain in his final two seasons. In 315 Ontario Hockey League games, Hunter contributed 369 points. He was a major factor in the Knights becoming Memorial Cup champions in 2004-05.
Dylan was taken by the Buffalo Sabres in the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, 273rd overall. He spent five years splitting time between the AHL and ECHL. He last played in 2010-11 with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL and the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. This is his first year behind the bench.
Rob Ramage starred with the Knights for three seasons from 1975-76 to 1977-78, co-winning the Max Kaminsky Trophy with Brad Marsh in his final season. After a year in the World Hockey Association with the Birmingham Bulls in 1978-79, Ramage was taken first overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Rockies.
Ramage played 1,044 regular season NHL games from 1979-80 to 1993-94 with the Rockies, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Minnesota North Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers. He won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1988-89 with the Calgary Flames and 1992-93 with the Montreal Canadiens. Rob is in his first season as assistant coach.