Dale Hunter’s 1,000th OHL regular season game on Saturday was also his 669th career victory as the London Knights edged the Saginaw Spirit 4-3 on the road.
Dante Salituro’s late game winner helped the Knights improve to 28-7-2-3 and remain deadlocked in a first place tie with the Erie Otters atop a very competitive Midwest Division.
Hunter becomes the sixth coach in OHL history to reach the 1,000 game mark, joining Brian Kilrea (2,156), Bert Templeton (1,735), Larry Mavety (1,532), George Burnett (1,332) and North Bay Battalion head coach Stan Butler (1,397) in quadruple digits.
Through 1000 games, Hunter’s record behind the bench sits at 669-261-53 with 17 ties, translating into a .704 winning percentage, the highest of any coach in league history with over 200 wins.
Hunter began his tenure in London during the 2001-02 season and has achieved great things with the Knights, becoming the fastest coach in OHL history to win 500 games on March 16, 2013.
The former 19-year NHL veteran has been a three-time OHL Coach of the Year (2004, 2005, 2010), three-time OHL champion (2005, 2013, 2016) and two-time Mastercard Memorial Cup champion (2005, 2016). Hunter has also led the Knights to four Western Conference Championships (2005, 2006, 2013, 2016), seven Midwest Division titles (2004-07, 2009, 2010, 2013) and five Hamilton Spectator Trophies (2004-07, 2013), awarded to the club with the most points in the regular season.
In addition to his impressive OHL track record, Hunter spent part of the 2011-12 season as head coach of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and coached Canada’s Under-18 team to a gold medal at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Throughout his time in London, Hunter has aided in the development of eventual NHL standouts in Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Mitch Marner (London Knights) and Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames) among several others.
The Knights are currently in the hunt for their 17th consecutive playoff berth and have appeared in the Mastercard Memorial Cup in four of the last five years.