Pittsburgh High School Hockey Teams Told to Cut National Anthem to Save Time, Money

(Photo: CBS Pittsburgh/KDKA)

If money is tight and time is money, is it acceptable to cut the national anthem from sporting events?

The league commissioner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania apparently thinks so, suggesting a whopping 183 high school teams nix the few minutes it takes to honor the United States to minimize time on the ice.

CBS Pittsburgh/KDKA explains:

High school hockey must rent the ice time, so every game is carefully timed to get as many in as possible in the shortest amount of time.

“Ice is very, very hard to get and it’s not cheap,” said [Commissioner Ed Sam]. “We’re talking $300 an hour sometimes or even higher than that.”

So, when the time for a game is up, play is stopped even if the game is running over because of an over verbose singing of the National Anthem, which happened recently.

The response has been overwhelmingly negative, reports indicate, with the CBS affiliate even writing that “playing the National Anthem is as much a part of sporting events as hot dogs and yelling at the officials.”

“I go back to the 1960s with high school hockey, and it’s always been a part of it,” Bob Mock, the skating director at Center Ice, reminded. “A part of our history, and it should be a part of the game.”

Beth Spena of the Irwin area reportedly added: “I don’t agree with it. There should be some other time that can be cut.”

But Comissioner Sam now says the whole thing was only a suggestion, and asserts that it has nothing to do with patriotism.

“We are recommending the national anthem not be played, or sung, or whatever it is,” he told Fox News, but “It has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism at all. That’s the furthest thing from the truth.”

He added that many of the teams have already chosen to forgo the National Anthem, and fail to play it before games.  Regardless, because of the popular backlash, he says they’ll discuss the issue at an upcoming meeting and see if they can find a way to modify the suggestion.

KDKA has more on the story:


Related: