The commissioner of a central and western Pennsylvania high school hockey league deserves some time in the penalty box after creating a brouhaha about the national anthem.
And to make it worse, the matter erupted just as the nation was celebrating Veterans Day.
Ed Sam, commissioner of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, which includes teams in Altoona, Hollidaysburg, State College and the Johnstown area, started a tempest when he raised the idea of not playing the national anthem at games to save time.
KDKA in Pittsburgh reported that Sam sent out a letter last week prohibiting playing the national anthem at the games after some games had to be ended before the clock ran because the rink rental time had expired. Verbose singing of the anthem contributed to the problem.
Needless to say, the idea didn't go over well, and Sam and the PIHL quickly reversed direction.
The PIHL website on Tuesday evening included a statement "that the PIHL is working on implementing a 'standardized' playing of the National Anthem for every PIHL game" using a CD.
"Until our standardized procedure is completely set up, please allow playing of the National Anthem in the manner that you have done so previously or currently available to you," the website stated.
Because high school teams have to rent ice time at an arena, one can understand the desire to avoid delays that could result in a premature end of the game.
But playing "The Star Spangled Banner" at sporting events is a tradition that Americans value. Banning it is sure to draw the ire of many.
All high school games and games involving amateur travel teams played at Gallactic Ice in Altoona have included the national anthem.
The PIHL is looking at a short instrumental version of the anthem for its games, KDKA reported.
That's a reasonable compromise that might keep Sam and the PIHL out of the doghouse - if not the penalty box - while maintaining the anthem's place at high school hockey games.