When Peter DeBoer traded power winger: Matt Passfield to the Mississauga Ice Dogs for the 3rd overall pick in the 2001 CHL Import draft, even he may have underestimated what kind of star that he might acquire. Kanko arrived on the scene and immediately his pressence was known, both on the score board as well as for his in your face style of play. During his first regular season game in Guelph he raised the ire of the Storm with some after empty net goal unnecessary celebration antics. This past season he was awarded the Jim McGeachie Memorial Trophy for outstanding team effort. His ever evolving mohawk which changed colors throughout the postseason, starting blonde and turning red, was a rally point of sorts for the Rangers and their fans. Many fans mimiced the feisty winger while attending games in Quebec City, making read mohawks on their own heads.
During Kanko's first season in the OHL he was placed
alongside fellow rookie Michael Richards on the Rangers' number two unit.
As the 2002-'03 season started, Petr Kanko quickly found his way on to
the Rangers top unit, which was quickly dubbed the "All-Star" line since
all three forwards: Kanko, Roy and Campbell all attended the All-Star game,
and played on a single line together. With Gregory Campbell and Derek
Roy off at the WJC, Kanko found a new home playing with Nathan O'Nabigon
and Michael Richards, with the addition of Kanko both O'Nabigon, and Michael
Richards went on fire. Along with helping his newly found linemates
put on the red light, Kanko also made the Rangers' number two unit, equally
as lethal as the top line. Making the Rangers one of the only teams
in the league that could win a game without their top line contributing.
During the postseason, Kanko generated 27 points of offense in only 20
games, highlighted by a hattrick in Plymouth with the Rangers facing elimination
in the 6th game of the Conference Final. Unfortunately fate wasn't
on Kanko's side the next game, during the 7th and deciding game of the
series, after a controversial hit, Kanko was ejected along with being given
a 5-minute major for 'slew-footing' Plymouth defender: Nate Kiser.
The Rangers would prevail, and Kanko would be extremely successful in the
Rangers' four Memorial Cup games, scoring 4 goals and adding an assist.
Photo: Stephen Gardiner Photography