Former London Knight Kelly Thomson dies at age 34

A former member of the London Knights has died.

Kelly Thomson, who won OHL and Memorial Cup championships with the Knights in 2005, died Sunday. He turned 34 just last week.

“This is a very sad day for our organization,” said London Knights vice president and general manager, Mark Hunter, in a statement.

“He will always be a member of our organization and we have lost a close family member.”

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After his playing days were over, Thomson spent several seasons as the head coach of the London Nationals of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey league. He led the Nationals to their first-ever Sutherland Cup championship in 2013.

“I never got the chance to play for him. Obviously, I got to play with him, but I think the same way as he was in the locker room for us as teammates, I think that would’ve transitioned very well for him as a coach,” said friend and former Knights captain Danny Syvret.

“He just makes everyone around him comfortable and you’ll try to do anything you can for him, conversely, as he did for you.”

A draft pick of the Sarnia Sting, Thompson joined the Knights for the memorable 2004-05 season. He played 107 games in the OHL, spending most of them in a London Knights uniform.

That Knights team won a league-record 59 games in the regular season, capping it off with the franchise’s first Memorial Cup on home ice. It is widely regarded as one of the best teams in the history of the CHL, and likely junior hockey, and included future NHLers such as David Bolland, Brandon Prust, Corey Perry, Marc Methot and Daniel Girardi.

“He gave us a lot more room out there to play because it was back when fighting and intimidation and the game was a lot dirtier then than it is now that you see on TV, but he was the guy, the sheriff of every game he played in,” Syvret told 980 CFPL of Thomson.

“He would do anything for anyone in all situations whether it be on the ice, off the ice, family life, whatever it is, Kelly was the guy that was always there with you.”

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After Thomson’s OHL career ended, he spent a season playing minor-pro hockey with the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury and one season playing with Waterloo’s Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Every summer after we turned professional, Corey Perry and I would rent an apartment downtown and Kelly would move in with us. So it was the three of us for probably five or six off-seasons, we’d spend time together throughout the summer. Whether it be golfing, watching baseball games, going to a patio or something, he was a great friend to us all.”

Thomson began his junior career with the St. Mary’s Lincolns in 2002-03.

A cause of death has not been released.

— with files from 980 CFPL’s Jacquelyn LeBel. 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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