Pa. hockey league dumps National Anthem because it takes too much time … this somehow causes controversy
Nov 14, 2012, 2:45 PM EDT
Some blame the economy for this controversial ruling — I blame global warming. At any rate, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League is discouraging its teams from playing the National Anthem before games, because it takes too much time. And as we know, time is money.
How much money? In Pennsylvania high school hockey, about $300 an hour or more. That’s how much it costs for ice time for one game, and if a game reaches its allotted time, it has to be stopped for financial reasons, even if the clock hasn’t run out.
So if the game has to be stopped with a minute left, and the National Anthem took a minute-and-a-half, a coach could conceivably protest the game because the National Anthem was played.
PIHL Commissioner Ed Sam sent out an email to the 183 high school teams in Central and Western Pennsylvania saying the singing of the National Anthem is not permitted.
“The National Anthem should not be played only because of time constrains,” said Sam. “It’s not that we’re not patriotic, that’s the furthest from the truth.
“Ice is very, very hard to get and it’s not cheap,” said Sam. “We’re talking $300 an hour sometimes or even higher than that.
Many parents and fans are not amused.
“No, they should just extend the time period they have to play the game,” said Melanie Chakrabarti, of Murrysville.
“I go back to the 1960s with high school hockey, and it’s always been a part of it,” said Bob Mock, the skating director at Center Ice. “A part of our history, and it should be a part of the game.”
The PIHL issued a statement declaring that the anthem isn’t technically banned, just “discouraged.” Which is kind of a weak-kneed parsing of words. Either ban it or don’t.
I’ve always said that the playing of the National Anthem before any sporting event is unnecessary — it’s paying lip service to patriotism, like wearing an American flag lapel pin. Jewelry and song mean nothing without actual deeds. Did you know that they only started routinely playing the National Anthem at sporting events during World War II? It was an effort by MLB owners to deflect criticism for playing baseball while Americans were dying overseas. And the practice just stuck.
As for it being traditional, well, so were jump balls after every basket. Things change.
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