A former Kitchener Rangers' defenceman and pair of coaches who helped out behind the Kitchener bench are now champions with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs captured their second OHL title with a 6-1 victory over Windsor in Game 7 Wednesday night. The game was played in front of close to 12,000 spectators at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.
It means championship rings will be coming to Arber Xhekaj, Jay McKee and Andreas Karlsson.
Xhekaj, who's from Hamilton, was traded by Kitchener to the Bulldogs this season. In 18 playoff games, the Montreal Canadiens prospect put up 16 points and was plus-15.
"It's unbelievable ... I grew up in this city and I love everything about this city. To play my last game winning in this barn, it's unbelievable." Xhekaj said during the post-game celebration on the ice.
McKee spent five seasons with the Rangers before joining the Bulldogs in 2021.
"Between playoffs and regular season we played over 80-some games and there might have been three games where we didn't think the effort was there. That's hard to find so it's just a special group and one I'm proud to be a part of." McKee said.
Hamilton is now off to the Memorial Cup, which begins Monday in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Bulldogs will face the host Sea Dogs on opening night.