Already having one of just four numbers currently hanging from the rafters at Capital One Arena (#32), and fresh off of leading Team Canada to a Gold Medal in this years World Junior Championships, Dale Hunter’s professional career hit another major milestone Thursday evening in Windsor, Ontario, as he recorded his 800th career win as a head coach in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Hunter’s 800th career win as an OHL head coach came in the London Knights 6-3 win over the Windsor Spitfires. With the victory, Hunter has become only the third OHL coach to reach 800 wins in OHL history. Brian Kilrea and the late Bert Templeton are the other two coaches to reach the milestone.
Congratulations to Dale Hunter on win number 8️⃣0️⃣0️⃣!
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) January 24, 2020
Hunter became the fastest coach in OHL history to reach 500 career wins following a 3-2 overtime victory over the Saginaw Spirit on March 16, 2013. Hunter then became the fastest coach in OHL history to reach the 600-win mark on October 31st, 2105, also against the Saginaw Spirit, doing so in just 906 games behind the bench. With his 700th regular season victory on December 2, 2017 against the North Bay Battalion, Hunter reached yet another career milestone faster than any other coach who has stood behind an OHL bench.
“He doesn’t really get caught up [in numbers] like that,” said Knights assistant coach Dylan Hunter. “I bet he wouldn’t even know if somebody didn’t bring it up. Day in and day out he just loves it. He watches games and he enjoys talking about [hockey]. “It’s not about the win column or where they place. For a lot of guys it’s just natural to want to be at the top; for him, it’s trying to find new things in the game.”
Hunter sat for an interview with Sportsnet prior to Thursday night’s game in Windsor.
Video: The OHL
Dale Hunter got a salute from his players on the way home and took some time to reflect on the accomplishment.
“You feel a little old to begin with,” he said, smiling.
“A lot of good players have come through and I’m watching some of them like Rick Nash retire from the National Hockey League. When you get to a number [like this], you know you have had some good teams and good players.”
Hunter played 19 seasons in the National Hockey League, including 12 seasons with the Washington Capitals, where he was also captain. He would ultimately have his jersey retired by the organization on March 11, 2000.
By Jon Sorensen