The London Knights of the OHA had a mediocre season in 1969-70, finishing sixth in the ten team league, one point behind the Ottawa 67’s. The Knights were led by Darryl Sittler and his 90 points in 54 regular season games. Along with Sittler, others, like Pat Boutette, Rick Kehoe, Jim Schoenfeld, Dave Hutchinson, Dan Maloney and Dan Bouchard, spent time with London that season.
In the playoffs, London downed the Peterborough Petes eight points to two in the quarter-finals. Then, in a quirk that could only be found in the OHA, London lost to the Toronto Marlboros nine points to three in the semi-finals. Back then, the OHA didn’t allow for overtime in the playoffs and the series’ were based on points and not wins. A team needed eight points to win a series. Toronto won three games in that semi-final but the two teams also tied three times.
Three players from that 1969-70 London team played prominent roles in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, held not long after Toronto ousted them from the Robertson Cup playoffs. The three were chosen in the first two rounds and went on to lengthy NHL careers.
Darryl Sittler was taken in the first round, eighth overall, by the Toronto Maple Leafs. 1969-70 was Darryl’s third and final season with London. His 90 points placed him sixth in the league, a vast distance from first place Marcel Dionne of the St. Catherines Black Hawks who totalled 132. The previous season, 1968-69, his 99 points placed him third behind just Rejean Houle of the Montreal Junior Canadiens (108) and Dionne (100).
Sittler played 1,096 regular season games in the NHL between 1970-71 and 1984-85 with the Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.
Not far behind Sittler was Dan Maloney. Dan was also taken in the first round, fourteenth overall, by the Chicago Black Hawks. However, Maloney was drafted for different reasons than his teammate. Dan found himself on a different leader board, finishing second in the league to Steve Durbano in penalty minutes with 232. Durbano, of the Toronto Marlboros, was quite far ahead with 371.
Maloney played 737 regular season games in the National Hockey League between 1970-71 and 1981-82 with the Chicago Black Hawks, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto. Over his career, he sat nearly 1,500 minutes in the sin bin. Maloney and Sittler were reunited with Toronto from midway through the 1977-78 season when Dan joined the club until midway through the 1981-82 season when Sittler was traded to the Flyers.
Goaltender Dan Bouchard was selected in the second round of the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, 27th overall, by the Boston Bruins. 1969-70 was his only season with the Knights. He played 41 games between the pipes for London, recording a 3.89 goals against average and racking up 55 minutes in penalties.
Bouchard played in the NHL from 1972-73 to 1985-86 but never with the team that drafted him. Dan wore the jerseys of the Atlanta Flames, Calgary Flames, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets. However, his only professional hockey accolade came back in 1971-72 while still in Boston’s system. Bouchard was awarded the Harry ’Hap’ Holmes Memorial Award as the goalie with the lowest goals against average in the American Hockey League. He played 50 games with the Boston Braves and recorded a 2.51 GAA.