Sittler recounts his days with Knights and Toro
During the past 40 plus years, the London Knights have produced scores of NHL Nike Sweatshirt White
The two former Knights met up briefly at this year's Hall of Nike Tracksuit Image
No spring chicken myself, I watched Sittler play with the Knights, and with the Leafs. Hang around hockey long enough, and you realize that nice guys like Sittler do finish first.
all stars. Simply look up at the rafters at the John Labatt Centre, where retired numbers for Rob Ramage (5), Nike Hoodie Navy
As a Knight, Sittler spent most of his summers in London, building backyard pools and, in old school fashion "trying to build up some muscles by shovelling dirt and cement."
With the likes of stars Gary Unger and Walt McKechnie graduating from the Knights, Sittler says he "was pretty fortunate to get lots of ice time. Some of the older guys turned pro and didn't return for their final year of junior."
Brendan Shanahan (19) and Brad Marsh (22) remind us of the Knights' deep history.
Today, Darryl, 60, is remarried. He and his wife, Luba, live in Toronto and vacation at a Florida home. He dropped the puck at a Leafs Flyers exhibition game this year at the JLC, where banners for long time trainer Don Brankley and broadcaster Pete James also hang high above the ice.
"I don't think there was a dry eye in the place, including myself and my kids (Meaghen, Ashley and Ryan)," Sittler says.
Of course, Dino Ciccarelli (8) and Darryl Sittler (9) both have their Knights numbers hanging at the JLC, too. They're the only individual Knights to have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame Sittler in 1989 and Ciccarelli earlier this month. The entire 2004 05 Memorial Cup winning Knights team, too, are recognized in the Hall.
"It was nice to see guys like Pete James . guys who have been long time Knights supporters. We're all getting older," says Sittler.
Sittler met his wife, Wendy, while attending classes at Beal, and they were married in 1971. Wendy died of colon cancer in 2001. She was 53.
In February 2003, when Darryl's No. 27 banner was raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre, it carried Wendy's name inscribed near the bottom.
"I was picked third overall by the Knights," says Sittler. "Turk Broda came up to St. Jacobs, brought me to London, gave me my start. I was still 16 when I left home, but turned 17 at training camp. Beal Secondary School, then attended Fanshawe College for two years. "It has grown since I was there," says Sittler. The college had just opened its doors in 1967.
Fame induction weekend, where Sittler praised Ciccarelli for his goal Nike Long Sleeve Running scoring prowess something Sittler knows a little bit about after netting 484 goals and assisting on 637 others during a playing career stretching from 1970 to 1985.
The London Nationals became the London Knights before the 1968 69 season, and Sittler was named captain of the club with a new moniker. The St. Jacobs native was drafted out of the Junior B Elmira Sugar Kings, and played under coaches Turk Broda and Bep Guidolin.
Ciccarelli and Sittler took different routes to NHL stardom. After suffering a broken leg, and considered too small to play in the NHL, Ciccarelli was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota North Stars in 1979. The Sarnia native went on to score 608 goals in the NHL not too shabby for someone passed over in the draft.
In 1970, Sittler was selected eighth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and today remains the team's most beloved captain. He survived the horrible Harold Ballard years, finished his career with the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings and today is a Leafs ambassador, giving back to the community something Sittler has done since his junior days in London.
Sittler fondly recalls his days spent in London during the late 1960s.
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