(Photo: Melissa Kania)

London Knights To Retire Dave Bolland's Number

The London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League announced on Saturday the team’s plans to retire jersey number 91 and honor Dave Bolland in a ceremony on October 15. The Knights will hoist the #91 banner to the rafters at Budweiser Gardens prior to their 7 p.m. game against the Erie Otters.

Bolland, a native of Mimico, Ontario, played four seasons of OHL hockey with the London Knights from 2002 until 2006. He was drafted by the Knights with the 8th overall pick in the 2002 OHL Priority Selection and joined the team for the season following his draft.

His career with the London Knights would see Bolland rack up 299 points in 254 regular season games. The Knights would go to the playoffs in all four seasons he played in London, and they’d win both the J. Ross Robertson Cup as league champions and the Memorial Cup as overall Canadian Hockey League champions.

As a 16-year-old rookie in the 2002-03 season, Bolland had seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 64 games with the Knights. He finished the regular season a plus-5. The Knights went on to the playoffs, where Bolland had three points (2-1) in 14 games. He really broke out onto the OHL season the next season and would average more than a point-per-game in the remaining three seasons of his junior career.

His sophomore season (2003-04) saw Bolland end up fifth on the team in points scoring, and second in goals. He had 37 goals and 30 assists for 67 points in 65 games. It was a very talented team, with Corey Perry leading the way with 113 points (40-73) in 66 games. Scott Sheppard, Dylan Hunter and Rob Schremp also put up big numbers. Once again, the London Knights saw some playoff action, with Bolland putting up 13 points (3-10) in 15 games.

Things would only get better for Bolland and the London Knights in the 2004-05 season. Bolland had 34 goals and 51 assists for 85 points in 66 games; he also had 97 penalty minutes and was a plus-36 on the season. Once again, Perry led the team — this time with 130 points in 60 games. The Knights went on to the playoffs and beat out Guelph, Windsor, Kitchener and Ottawa to capture the Ontario Hockey League championship. Bolland had 25 points (11-14) in 18 games.

As hosts of the Memorial Cup, the Knights would have participated in the tournament even if they hadn’t captured the OHL championship. But they came in as the top team in the league and ended up beating out Rimouski, Ottawa and Kelowna to capture the Memorial Cup on home ice at the then-named John Labatt Centre.

London won all three of its round-robin games and defeated Rimouski 4-0 in the final game. That Oceanic team included Sidney Crosby, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Cedrick Desjardins. Perry had four goals and three assists for seven points in the four games, leading the Knights in scoring during the Memorial Cup.

After those big wins, Bolland returned for one more season with the London Knights. His final year in the OHL saw him put up 130 points (57-73) in just 59 games. He was tied for the team lead in goals and was third in assists; second in points. Bolland also recorded a career-high 104 penalty minutes. Once again, the Knights returned to the playoffs, only to be knocked out by OHL champions, the Peterborough Petes. Bolland recorded 24 points (15-9) in 15 games.

To this day, Bolland still holds the London Knights franchise record for most career playoff goals. His time in the OHL also saw him named a Western Conference All-Star twice in addition to winning gold at the 2006 World Junior Championships.

During his time with the London Knights, Dave Bolland was a notable contributor to the team, so it’s only fitting that they honor him and raise #91 to the rafters next month at Budweiser Gardens.

Tags: Dave Bolland Florida Panthers London Knights NHL OHL

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