Branch gives glowing review

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

In his 10 seasons as Canadian Hockey League president and 25 years as Ontario Hockey League commissioner, Dave Branch has never used more superlatives to describe his Memorial Cup experience.

"You never want to get caught up in the moment, but I'm sure it will happen," he said. "It's difficult to think of another Memorial Cup week that's been better from top to bottom. That's my feeling now.

"Everything came together from the event planning and the support to on the ice. The young guys showed us outstanding hockey. There wasn't a team that didn't belong."

Branch also mentioned the 500 volunteers and the media attention as being superb.

He felt every pocket of the city was behind the Knights and the Cup tournament.

"What really impressed me about this event was . . . everywhere you went the . . . presence of the Knights is everywhere. You have to take your hat off to the Knights and the fans and everyone involved for creating that kind of environment."

The officiating was questioned by some players and coaches during the nine-day tournament, but Branch said, "It was fine. There wasn't an issue there."

Oceanic Rimouski star Sidney Crosby took a beating from every team he played, but Branch said he wasn't the only one.

"Corey Perry had a lot of attention, Mark Mancari had a lot of attention.

"There's certain things that you must understand when you are a star player as Sidney is. The test we have to always apply is to ensure nothing falls outside the realm of reasonable fair play and address the situation as the need calls."

Branch was asked if he felt there was anything on the ice that wasn't fair play and was addressed.

"I feel they addressed the needs as they were required," was all he would say.

Branch said he has talked with Sportsnet officials about possibly moving the championship game to Monday night next year in Moncton, N.B. There had been some criticism about the short turnaround time between the semifinal Saturday night and the final yesterday afternoon.


Videos

Photos