Request for ban on NHLers wasn't Branch's idea

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

David Branch isn't trying to block NHL players from practising with junior teams.

While there have been reports the Canadian Hockey League president sent a memo to junior teams asking them not to allow pros to skate with them during the lockout, he denied that was the case yesterday.

Instead, Branch told the Sun he received a directive from Hockey Canada which indicated that if NHL players are skating with junior teams at any level, then the NHLers wouldn't be covered by insurance.

"You know I'd love to have those guys on the ice with our (junior) players," said Branch, who also serves as the commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League.

"I love what they bring to the team. They've got knowledge that they could pass on to the players, they're good role models and a lot of them are graduates of our programs.

"Having those NHL players around to practice with our junior guys would be great. I'd love to have them. We were informed by Hockey Canada that we just couldn't have those guys skating with us."

The 67's have welcomed Senators centre Todd White and goalie Dominik Hasek to skate at the Civic Centre during the lockout.

"We just can't afford the risk. We know these guys are good guys and we're not trying to do anything to block them," said Branch.


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