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Team leaders Max McCue and Stuart Rolofs ready for memorable OHL final
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Team leaders Max McCue and Stuart Rolofs ready for memorable OHL final

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Looking back now, the 2019 OHL draft was a masterclass from Mark Hunter in one of his first big moments since returning from his stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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The London Knights GM selected Stuart Rolofs, now Oshawa’s high-scoring captain, 20th overall with his first-round pick. He took defenseman Logan Mailloux, who made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens this spring, at No. 33 and current perennial star Max McCue back-to-back with pick No. 34.

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All three made a big impact during their junior careers.

“It was a long time ago,” said McCue, the 21-year-old Blue Jackets prospect. “I remember going to school with (Rolofs) and the first few years in London were tough. You go through a lot of setbacks (trying to fit into the lineup) and we kind of dealt with that together. Stu is a great person on and off the ice, has worked extremely hard and it is no surprise that he is the captain of a team that is going for it in the championship series.

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Rolofs and McCue are part of Knights history as skaters who had their first OHL season cut short before the playoffs and their second NHL draft campaigns wiped out by COVID-19 restrictions. McCue, a Sudbury native, scored two goals in 34 games as a rookie, while Rolofs, from Carp with Ottawa, had three assists in 31 games at the same time.ge as McCue at age 16.

Stuart Rolofs of the Oshawa Generals fires the puck at goaltender Mike McIvor of the North Bay Battalion during Game 4 of the OHL Eastern Conference finals at North Bay Memorial Gardens on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (John Lappa/Postmedia Network)
Stuart Rolofs of the Oshawa Generals fires the puck at goaltender Mike McIvor of the North Bay Battalion during Game 4 of the OHL Eastern Conference finals at North Bay Memorial Gardens on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (John Lappa/Postmedia Network)

When OHL hockey resumed three years ago, Rolofs didn’t get the start he wanted with the Knights and was moved to Oshawa. He just completed his second straight 32-goal season and has five goals and eleven points in seventeen playoff games.

One of the league’s best body checkers, McCue scored 27 goals and 110 penalty minutes, followed by 17 points in 14 playoff games and an incredibly strong plus-16 rating. The Knights don’t have a captain, but McCue is central to the leadership mix.

“Max is a great player (and) a great person,” Rolofs said. “We came into the league together and I have nothing but respect for him. I think it’s going to be pretty cool to play against my former team and some former teammates. London are a great team and we will have to do our best to beat them.

“I think we have a good chance.”

The Knights are determined to be eliminated from the finals for the second season in a row.

“All the best to him,” McCue said of Rolofs, “but this time we want to take him down.”

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