1981-1982 - INAUGURAL

1981-1982 Championship Team

Finishing their inaugural regular season in 4th place with a record of 22 wins and 20 losses, the Royal Knights couldn't have peaked at a better time.

Dramatically fighting their way through 3 play-off rounds, led by Team Captain Jeff Barron, outstanding play by Goaltender Bob Unger and the ever-energetic George Jacques, the Royal Knights won the M.M.J.H.L. Championship in their very first year in the league.

After knocking off the 5th place Midland Flyers in 3 straight games of a best of 5 series, the Knights upset the powerful St. Boniface Riels who had finished in 1st place, 4 games to 2 in a best of 7 series.

In the finals, the Royal Knights met the defending champion Charleswood Hawks, who had finished in 2nd place just behind the Riels and surprised the Hawks by building a 3 games to 1 series lead, only to lose the next two games forcing a seventh and final game at Eric Coy Arena.

In game 7, Charleswood opened the scoring with a goal by their captain Mike Seifer 3 minutes and 23 seconds into the game. Royal Knights regular season scoring leader Kelvin Loeb would tie it at 16:05 into the period. George Jacques would get the go-ahead goal for the Knights 13 minutes into the 2nd period. Bob Unger was outstanding in goal, continually stopping Charleswood's attack and equally brilliant at the other end was Hawks goalie Brent Novak until Barry Mymko scored with only 1 minute and 55 seconds remaining and Warren Dunn clinching the game and the championship for the Knights 44 seconds later with his goal to give the Knights a thrilling 4 - 1 victory.


1986-1987 - BEGINNING A DYNASTY

1986-1987 Championship Team

After starting the season with only 4 wins in their first 13 games, Royal Knights Coach Barry Bonni held a team meeting to rally the troops.

As General Manager, noting the talent and teams potential, but lackluster play, he threatened to fire the coach (himself). This would be the wake-up call they needed as they responded by winning 24 of the remaining 28 regular season games to finish in 1st place and earn a first round bye.

Their first play-off opponent was the 4th place Seven Oaks Raiders who advanced to the semi-finals by defeating the 5th place St. James Canucks.

The Royal Knights would continue their winning ways in the play-offs by building a three games to none lead over the Raiders before having a temporary setback and losing game 4 but then getting back on track to eliminate Seven Oaks in 5 games.

The Royal Knights faced the St. Vital Victorias in the finals and found little resistance as they swept the Vic's in 4 straight games. Record breaking scoring champion Bruno Zarrillo led the way for the Knights scoring 10 goals and 15 assists in 9 play-off games and was named Play-off MVP.


1987-1988 - BACK TO BACK

1987-1988 Championship Team

The regular season was a two horse race for top spot from beginning to end between the Royal Knights and the Seven Oaks Raiders. It came down to the final game of the season when the two met each other at the East Kildonan Incinarena (now known as Terry Sawchuk Arena) and the Raiders holding a one point lead. Well, the Knights spanked the Raiders 10 - 2 to clinch 1st place by one point with a record of 34 wins, 6 losses and 2 ties for 70 points, while Seven Oaks finished with 34 wins, 7 losses and 1 tie for 69 points.

After another 1st round bye, the Royal Knights met the Transcona Railers in the semi-finals with the Knights winning game 1 and the upstart Railers sneaking a win in game 2. The Knights regained their focus and dismissed the Railers in 5 games by winning the next three.

This set the stage for the much-anticipated showdown between the Royal Knights and the Raiders in the league finals. The Knights trounced the Raiders 13 to 3 in game one, but the rough and ready Raiders tied the series with a fight filled 8 to 4 win in game two. Hardly intimidated, the Knights won games three and four to put a stranglehold on the series. In game 5, the Raiders would ride a 48 save performance by their goaltender Gerry Narinski and defeat the Knights 5 to 4 to send the series back to West Kildonan Arena for game six.

With one team wanting to end the series and one wanting to force a game seven, the 6th game of this series was unlike the previous five in that only 6 penalties were called by Referee Bob Bingham (4 to River East and 2 to Seven Oaks). An overflow crowd at the barn in West Kildonan, witnessed a great hockey game by two great teams. Each team scored a goal each in all of the first three periods to send the game into over-time.

With the two teams set to play a full 10 minute over-time before they would play 20 minute sudden death periods, Wayne Craig would score for the Raiders with 6:32 left in the period. With time running out and a game seven looming, James Buller scored with 1:59 left to tie the game for the Knights. Buller's goal would spark the Knights to an extra level and with only 12 seconds left, Brent Reid would score the go ahead (and ultimate series winning) goal, before Calvin Dunn would clinch it with a goal into an empty net with 3 seconds left. Garth Eastman, with 10 goals and 4 assists was named Play-off MVP.


1988-1989 - THREE IN A ROW

1988-1989 Championship Team

During the 1988-89 season the Royal Knights owned the league finishing in 1st place a full 14 points ahead of the Ft. Garry/Ft. Rouge Twins enroute to setting a new league record with 37 wins, 3 losses and 2 ties for 76 points.

After another 1st round bye, the Royal Knights made short work of the 5th place Charleswood Hawks outscoring the Hawks 30 to 12 to sweep the series and move onto the finals against the 3rd place St. Vital Victorias, who had just upset the Twins in their semi-final series.

Any hopes the Vic's had of upsetting the powerful Knights were soon lowered after the team in purple and gold ripped them 12 to 3 in game one and 7 to 0 in game two. The determined Vic's would make a game of it in game three. After a scoreless 1st period, Bernie Paseluikho would finally open the scoring for the Knights at 2:01 into the second period. Then Mike Seeley would tie it for the Vic's at 11:14.

In the second period, regular season scoring champ Brent Reid would score the go-ahead goal for the Knights at 16:43 and Brad Lutz with a cannon would make it 3 to 1 blasting it past startled Vic's goalie Trevor Moore to close out the period.

The Vic's pressed to get back into it in the third and finally Rod Sabourin's screen shot from the point would get by Knights goalie Tyler Wall to make things interesting at 3 to 2 with 4:52 to go. That however was as close as the Vic's would get as Reid would get his second of the night with 1:28 to go and Darryl Lefko would seal it with an empty net goal with 5 seconds remaining.

In game four at St. Vital Arena, the Knights would build period leads of 5 to 2 and 6 to 3 and the premature celebration would begin. Oops, third period ends and it's six all heading to overtime. Garth Eastman at 4:13 into overtime and Bernie (The Roadrunner) Paseluikho at 8:20 with their second goals of the night would score in the full 10 minute overtime period to complete the sweep. Three in a row accomplished, as this was arguably the best Royal Knights team of all time. Tyler Wall was named Play-off MVP.


1989-1990 - FOUR IN A ROW

1989-1990 Championship Team

In 1989-90 the Royal Knights set the current league record of 346 goals scored in a single season. Led by regular season scoring champ Brent Reid (54 goals, 76 assists for 128 pts) and current single season goal scoring record setter Scott Parker (72 goals).

River East finished in 1st place with a record of 35 wins, 6 losses and 1 tie for 71 points. Inspite of their record, the Knights would have to battle to the wire to finish in 1st ahead of the Ft. Garry/Ft. Rouge Twins who possessed a very stingy defence, allowing only 153 goals against helping them attain a record of 34 wins, 6 losses and 2 ties for 70 points.

After another first round bye, the Knights swept the Transcona Railers 4 straight to advance to the finals against the Twins. This series could go either way, with two strong teams. One boasting the best offence and the other depending on strong defensive play.

In game one, the Twins would draw first blood with a 5-4 sudden death overtime goal by Chris Brown at 3:53 to take away home ice advantage from the Knights. Game two saw overtime again, but this time Knights defenceman Wayne Mosienko would be the hero at 1:50 into the extra frame with a low shot from the point to tie the series at one and take back home ice advantage. Game three and another overtime with Rob Schmidtke scoring at 3:17 to give the Knights a 2 to 1 series lead. In game four the Twins showed some offence of their own as they edged the Knights 7-6 at Century Arena to tie the series at two. Game 5 wasn't even close as the Knights led by Jason King's 4 goal performance hammered the Twins 11-4 chasing Twins goalie Drew Claussen to the bench after the seventh goal on 37 shots only to score 4 goals on 7 shots against replacement Colin Ray. Meanwhile defending the Knights end, goaltender Rolf (Rollie the Goalie) Klatt stopped 36 of 40 shots sent his way.

With the Knights now leading the series 3 games to 2, Twins coach Jim Platt in a move of desperation and thinking his team could outskate Barry Bonni's Knights, had the game moved from Century Arena to the larger Eric Coy Arena.

Jim never had another opportunity to try something else as the Knights won game six 4-3 to win another championship, four games to two.


1992-1993 - SEVEN STRAIGHT FINALS

1992-1993 Championship Team

After four straight championships and reaching the finals the past six years in a row, 1992-93 would have a twist. Coach Barry Bonni stepped down from the bench and the reigns were handed to former Knights captain Chris Tauber to coach the team.

Tauber didn't miss a beat, leading his former team-mates and a sprinkling of new players to a record of 33 wins and only 9 losses for 66 points and a 1st place finish.

In a peculiar attempt to try something new (and hoping to end the Royal Knights dominance), the league created a new play-off format in which the first round would be a round robin format to determine the semi-finalists.

In this format, the Knights hammered Charleswood Hawks 11-3, lost a close one to Transcona Railers 7-6, spanked St. Vital Victorias 8-1 and trounced Ft. Garry/Ft. Rouge Twins 11-2.

The Knights ended up playing the Seven Oaks Raiders in the semi-finals. Seven Oaks won game one, but the Knights roared back with 4 straight wins to dispose of the Raiders and once again move on to the finals for the seventh consecutive year.

The final series was similar to the semi-finals. Transcona won game one and the Knights took the next four to win the championship 4 games to 1. The new (short-lived) play-off format didn't change the inevitable outcome. The Knights firepower and play-off goaltending by Jeff Chudy was the difference. Chudy was also named Play-off MVP.


2000-2001 - ENDURANCE


2000-2001 Championship Team

This was the Royal Knights most grueling play-off run since 1981-82. The Knights had to play 19 out of a maximum 21 games to win this championship. It was like playing another half season with play-off pressure every game.

With Barry Bonni back as coach, the Knights finished the regular season in 3rd place and met the ever-formidable Transcona Railers in the first round. Each team took advantage of home ice in the first four games of the series, each winning two at home until River East took over and won games five and six to eliminate the pesky Railers four games to two.

In the semi-finals, the Knights met an aggressive St. James Canucks team who had finished 12 points ahead of the Knights in the regular season. Game one went to double over-time before Canuck Mike Dueck would end it at 11:08 into the 5th period to give St. James a 1-0 series lead with a 4-3 win at the Civic Center in St. James. At Terry Sawchuk Arena for game two, the Knights Jody Ross would score two goals to help upend the Canucks 5-4 and tie the series at one each. Game three would see the Knights take away home ice advantage from the Canucks as Ross scored again coupled with two assists to lift the Knights to a 4-3 win and 2-1 series lead. Game four was all Knights as they cruised to an 8-0 win and take a stranglehold on the series. The Canucks would not go down easily however, and battled back to win games five and six by scores of 5-3 and 3-2 to send the series to a seventh and final game. Once again, as he did earlier in the series, Jody Ross would prove to be the Canucks nemesis as he scored 3 goals to lead the Royal Knights to a 5-3 win and vault the Knights into the finals.

Tired and sore after battling through 13 games in 29 nights, River East would have to face a well rested Ft. Garry/Ft. Rouge Twins who finished the regular season in 1st place, 16 points ahead of the Knights.

In game one of the finals, each team had 43 shots in a wide-open affair as the Twins came out on top by a score of 4-2. In game two the Knights rebounded and won 4-3 as Ryan Kemp scored three goals and Jody Ross got one to go along with two assists while Severyn (Wojo) Wojcik came up big in goal making 49 saves for River East. With the series tied at 1 each, Tyler Yarema scored the natural hat-trick to propel the Knights to a 4-3 win and 2-1 series lead. The Twins would come back and take game four 3-2 as Wojo and Twins goalie Ryan Olenick would each make numerous great saves. Game five would be the Wojo show as he stopped 48 of 49 shots to frustrate the Twins while Eric Van Dam would score twice to lead the Knights to a 4-1 win and 3-2 series lead. The Twins would try desperately to tie the series outshooting the Knights 46 to 34 at Terry Sawchuk Arena, but to no avail. They led 3-1 after one period but Wojo held the fort the rest of the way only allowing one more Twins goal, while the Knights scored five of their own including Kevin Greig's game winner to seal Ft. Garry's fate and give River East another title.