U.S. team's treatment disappoints Brankley

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Medal or no medal, Knights trainer Don Brankley believes London fans will give U.S. world junior hockey participant Rob Schremp a warm reception when he returns to the John Labatt Centre.

That would be a far cry from the response the OHL's leading scorer and his U.S. cohorts received when they faced Russia in Tuesday night's world junior semifinal in Vancouver.

The crowd, which made U.S. defenceman Jack Johnson a public enemy for a perceived cheap shot on Canadian Steve Downie, was pro-Russian, cheering wildly against the Americans and even throwing in some "U.S. sucks" chants for good measure.

"I watched the game and I was disgusted with the way the Canadian fans reacted out there," Brankley said. "I don't think the fans here would ever do that. They love Rob Schremp here and wouldn't care if he was from Outer Mongolia, they'd still feel the same way about him.

"Canadians and Americans aren't very different. The Americans are good people, they have a lot of guys playing in the Canadian Hockey League, so I didn't get that."

Schremp, whose U.S. squad was a gold-medal favourite heading into the tournament, will have to beat Finland today or risk finishing out of the medals for a second straight year.

"If the Americans don't get a medal, it won't be because of the way Robbie played," Brankley said.

Schremp endured the verbal shots last year when Corey Perry and Danny Syvret came home with gold medals and he knows he'll take some more with fellow Knight David Bolland already guaranteed to be returning with a better medal.

"Before they go away for the tournament, everybody's talking and taking jabs at each other because it's a hell of a thing to be able to take part in," Brankley said. "But when they come back, it can be a little bit awkward . . . I was hoping for a Canada-U.S. final and then let the chips fall where they may, but that didn't happen.

"All I know is David has his guns loaded with ammunition right now and Rob won't have that."


Photos