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The London Nationals are a Canadian junior ice hockey team based in London, Ontario, Canada. They play in the Western division of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

London Nationals
GOJHLTeamLogos-01.png
CityLondon, Ontario
LeagueGreater Ontario Junior Hockey League
ConferenceWestern Ontario Conference
Founded1950
Home arenaWestern Fair District Sports Centre
ColoursBlue, white, and black
              
General managerPat Powers
Head coachPat Powers
Affiliate(s)Lambeth Lancers (PJHL)
ChampionshipsSutherland Cup Champions: 2013
WOC Champions: 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
WOJHL Champions: 1981,1983,1984,1992
WJBHL Champions: 1964,1965
Big 10 West Champions: 1952
Websitewww.londonnationals.on.ca
Franchise history
1950–1958London Lou Ball Juniors
1958–1960London Diamonds
1960–1961London Athletics
1961–1965London Nationals
1965–1966Ingersoll Nationals
1966–1967London Bees
1969–1973London Squires
1973–1976London-Glencoe Squires
1976–1991London Diamonds
1991–presentLondon Nationals

Ken Eansor is the current owner of the London Nationals. The general manager and head coach is Pat Powers. The Nationals play their home games at the Western Fair Sports Centre. The arena's seating capacity is 1,800, and features an international-sized ice surface measuring 100' X 200'.

HistoryEdit

Early days — 1950Edit

The team's life began in 1950, playing in The Big '10' Western Division out of the Ontario Arena at the Western Fair grounds. They won the Western Division title in 1952 as the London Lou Ball Juniors, after sponsor Lou Ball's clothing store. In 1956 the 'Big 10' was divided, and London became a member of the Western Ontario Junior "B" Hockey League.

Consistent representation of the city of London at the Jr. B level began in 1950 with the London Lou Ball Juniors, playing in The 'Big 10' Western Division out of the Ontario Arena at the Western Fairgrounds. The team was named after Lou Ball Clothes, which were stores owned by coach Lou Ball, and they won the championship the following season. The team was known as the London Collinson Flyers during the 1955–56 season before reverting to Lou Ball Juniors for 2 more seasons. The name changed to London Diamonds in 1958, then to Athletics in 1960. In 1961 the team was renamed again. They were called the Nationals, after sponsor Canadian National Recreation Association, an organization of Canadian National Railways employees.

The Maple Leafs — 1963Edit

In 1963 the Toronto Maple Leafs began sponsoring the Nationals. The Maple Leafs traditionally had affiliations with the Toronto Marlboros and St. Michael's Majors, however with the withdrawal of the Majors from the OHA, and the collapse of the Metro Junior A League, the Leafs were left with only one team. They decided to sponsor the junior team in London, which they wanted to play at the new London Gardens and be promoted to the Ontario Hockey Association.

The OHA initially balked at the proposition however, and so the Nationals continued to play in the Junior B league, winning the London Free Press Trophy as league champions in 1964 and 1965. For the 1965–66 season, the team was finally admitted to major junior hockey, and London's Junior B franchise moved to Ingersoll to make room for the Junior A Nationals. The Junior A team was renamed as London Knights in 1968, and the Nationals name disappeared from the London sports landscape.

The Bees, Squires and Diamonds — 1966Edit

The Junior B team returned to London under the name Bees for the 1966–1967 season, but then fell dormant for two seasons. The team was revived in 1969 as the Squires, and played under that name until 1976. The team was then known as the Diamonds from 1976–1991, before the Nationals name was revived after a long-lasting sponsorship with a diamond jeweler dissolved.

The team's time under the Diamonds name was successful, as they claimed the Southwestern Junior B Hockey League title in 1977, and the Western Ontario Hockey League title in 1981, 1983, and 1984.

Nationals Name Returns — 1991Edit

 
London Nationals logo 1991–1998.

The next change came when Kent Phibbs purchased the team and changed the name back to the London Nationals, and they won the Western Jr. B championship that same year. The team uniforms were once again the blue and white of the Maple Leafs and the team remained at Nichols Arena for a few years.

Mr. Phibbs now moved the team back to the Gardens. In the summer of 1998, the team was sold again, this time to the Doug Tarry Group (London Knights). The team remained playing at the same arena, but the name had changed to the London Ice House. The team colors and logo where changed to eggplant and teal to match the affiliate and the team still played at the London Ice House. The team's most recent championship came in 2019 (4th straight) as Western Conference Champions.

In 2013, the Nationals defeated the Cambridge Winterhawks to win their first ever Sutherland Cup. The Nationals appeared in back-to-back Sutherland Cups in 2016 & 2017, and again in 2019.

ChampionshipsEdit