Aaron Luchuk of the Windsor Spitfires. (Photo courtesy of Terry Wilson via OHL Images)

Spitfires To Raise Banner Amid Rivalry

The Windsor Spitfires will raise their Memorial Cup banner in the presence of their fiercest rival.

The team will hold the banner-raising ceremony Thursday night before their game against their Hwy. 401 foes, the London Knights. The ceremony holds a degree of irony in that it was the Knights who eliminated the Spitfires in the first round of last season’s OHL playoffs, before the Spits came back as host team of the Memorial Cup and won the whole thing.

Windsor centre Aaron Luchuk, a veteran of the championship team, says the ceremony will be a nice backdrop for a rivalry that he always finds fun to participate in.

“It’ll obviously be a nice night for us but we have to turn the switch on and put in a really good effort against a team that hasn’t had the best start so far,” says Luchuk. “But that doesn’t mean anything to them. They’re a really good team over there. I’m sure they can’t wait to face us.”

Despite a talented squad thatĀ is evolvingĀ from a team that went to the OHL conference semifinals last season, the Knights have stumbled out of the gate. They have lost five in a row and sit in last place in the OHL Midwest Division with a 1-6 record.

Nevertheless, Luchuk says London always comes to Windsor ready to play, and the records go down the drain.

“It’s just one of those rivalries in the OHL, I think it’s the best one,” says Luchuk. “They’ll be ready to play with us, they’ll have a game plan set for us and we’ll have a game plan set for them. Hopefully both teams will play really well and we’ll see the best team win.”

Luchuk says he’s looking forward to reconnecting with some of his former teammates as they unite at the WFCU Centre for the banner ceremony.

“That group last year, we really are like family, we were all brothers,” says Luchuk. “It’s a special night. I wish all of them could’ve come back for it, but the guys who are here will have a night to remember for sure.”

The Thursday game is the first of a home-and-away series between the two rivals. Puck drop at the WFCU Centre is set for 7:05pm. The two teams then meet again Friday at Budweiser Gardens.