Memorial Cup: If London wins, London celebrates (details pending)

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London fans wondering what public celebrations might unfold if the Knights win the Memorial Cup will have to wait a bit longer.

The Knights punched their ticket to their fourth cup final, being held Sunday in Saginaw, Mich., after defeating tournament host Saginaw, a rival in the Ontario Hockey League. The Knights will face the winner of Friday night’s semi-final between the Saginaw Spirit and the Moose Jaw Warriors, the Western Hockey League champions.

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Will there be a parade, or some other homecoming for the team? Maybe, a public celebration at their home arena, the Budweiser Gardens?

No plans are set yet — not by the city, nor the umbrella group for downtown merchants or even the team itself, with everyone waiting to see first what happens Sunday.

The Knights’ marketing team said ideas for a homecoming celebration are being circulated but nothing’s set in stone yet. Downtown London, the group representing core businesses, said similar and city hall indicated nothing’s on the go yet.

If the team’s last Memorial Cup victory is anything to go by, however, Londoners will likely get a chance to celebrate a winning squad.

In 2016, after the team toppled the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, winning 3-2 in overtime, the Knights got the red-carpet treatment after they flew home from the tournament in Alberta and arrived at the airport. A water cannon was fired on the tarmac to create a rainbow over the plane and police escorted the team bus to Victoria Park where 3,000 screaming fans awaited.

A little under three months later, more than 1,000  fans braved rain to attend a parade from city hall to Budweiser Gardens, where the championship team held a meet and greet and signed autographs. Players were presented their championship rings in a public awards ceremony.

Fans looking to watch Sunday’s game together can catch a big-screen public viewing Sunday on Dundas Place, near the arena, with the puck dropping at 7:30 p.m.

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