Knights to host 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup

London Knights celebrate winning the Ontario Hockey League final agaisnt the Barrie Colts. (CP//Dave Chidley)

The London Knights have been named host of the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup, the Ontario Hockey League announced Tuesday.

The 96th edition of the Memorial Cup will take place May 16-25 at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont., and will feature next season’s OHL, Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions.

“The London Knights are honoured to have the privilege of hosting this prestigious event again in 2014, and promise to make it the best ever,” Knights governor and chair of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup Host Committee Trevor Whiffen said in a press release.

“The 2014 Memorial Cup will be a ten-day festival in London celebrating the rich history and tradition of the OHL, which will honour all twenty member teams, and the hundreds of OHL Alumni who serve as great ambassadors for our League.”

Monday, in dramatic fashion, the Knights won the 2013 Robertson Cup title as OHL champions after a last-second win over the Barrie Colts in Game 7.

The 2014 event will be the second time the Knights have hosted the Memorial Cup; the team, led by MVP Corey Perry, hosted the event in 2005 and captured their first Memorial Cup title on home ice in a 4-0 win over the Rimouski Oceanic.

The Knights, Colts and the Windsor Spitfires were considered for the 2014 tournament and the host was selected by a Site Selection Committee comprised of: Scott Moore, president of broadcast for Rogers Media (Sportsnet); Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston; former OHL and NHL executive and director of Central Scouting Frank Bonello; NHL senior executive VP of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell and NHL senior VP of Hockey Operations Jim Gregory.

“The quality of a MasterCard Memorial Cup host team is one of the principal criteria for a successful bid,” OHL legal counsel Gord Kirke said.

The Knights are projected to have upwards of 22 returning players next season.

“The Site Selection Committee determined that while all three clubs possess sufficient elements for a suitable host city, it is the projected quality of the London Knights Hockey Club next season that is the decisive factor.”

This year’s edition of the Knights will open the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup Friday night against the host Saskatoon Blades at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet.

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