Dale Hunter of the London Knights is the Ontario Hockey League's coach of the year for the third time in seven seasons.

Hunter led the Knights to their second straight Midwest Division title this season with a 49-16-1-2 record.

He also won the Matt Leyden Trophy in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

"This is a very special honour for me to receive this award," Hunter said Thursday in a release. "When the GMs vote for you it is not just a reflection of your season but of your entire coaching staff and the organization. I enjoy coaching, and watching the kids get better and better throughout the year is something to be proud of."

Hunter, 49, just completed his ninth season behind the Knights bench, surpassing Bill Long as the longest-serving coach in team history.

Prior to coaching, Hunter played 19 seasons in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche.

2nd coach to win trophy 3 times

Hunter is the second coach to win the Matt Leyden Trophy three times behind five-time winner Brian Kilrea of the Ottawa 67's.

Hunter received 47 points, eight more than Dave Cameron of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors. Marty Williamson of the Barrie Colts was third with 36 points.

Candidates receive five points for a first-place vote, three points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

The Matt Leyden Trophy has been awarded annually since 1972 and is named for the former president of the Ontario Hockey Association.

Hunter will formally receive the award at the 2009-10 OHL awards ceremony on June 9 in Toronto. He will also be the OHL's nominee for the Canadian Hockey League coach of the year award.