It’s the end of an era for the London Knights, and the start of a new chapter.
General manager Mark Hunter is leaving for the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he’s been announced as the new director of player personnel. In his place will be Basil McRae, co-owner of the Knights and a former player during the late seventies and early eighties.
McRae says he got the call about the job just over a week ago.
“Mark called me and said what was going on [with] the position that he was offered, and wanted to know if I wanted to get more involved with the team than I already had been,” says McRae. “When he told me what it was, I said, ‘so basically both feet right?’ He says, ‘yeah.'”
Hunter says he’s confident McRae can step into his place.
“He’s got a strong personality. He’s going to tell what he thinks; he’s not just going to sit in the back seat,” says Hunter. “He’s got a hold of the wheel now, and he’s going to drive it very well.”
It’s a bittersweet departure for Knights fans, as Hunter brought the city a Memorial Cup and three OHL titles in his 14 years with the team — a feat he says he will look back on fondly.
“We had good runs. We had good teams. It’s always intriguing to me to put it all together and [figure out] what kind of players you need to win with,” Hunter says.
As for whether we’ll start to see more and more London Knights popping up on the Maple Leafs in the coming years, the 51-year-old Hunter smiles.
“I don’t know about that,” he says. “All I know is what’s best for the Leafs right now, and as players, we all have to earn our stripes.”