High school hockey league nixes national anthem to save time, money
A Pennsylvania high school league's attempt to save money on ice time is backfiring. Big time.
The PIHL, which governs competition in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, told the 183 schools in its purview to stop singing the national anthem before games as a means of saving time—and money.
“It’s not that we’re not patriotic, that’s the furthest from the truth," commissioner Ed Sam told KDKA-TV, noting that ice time in the area costs around $300 an hour.
As is often the case with anthem-related stuff, the story is snowballing, with local news, Fox News and HLN picking up on it. (And now Sporting News, so there's that.) The move came earlier this month, in the run-up to Veterans Day.
Sam's PR problem, though, is self-created—the league has gone from 15 to 17-minute periods in varsity games without extending ice slots. Plus, far from every game is preceded by the anthem—so it's a weird, relatively ineffectual, backlash-guaranteeing measure to take.