USA Hockey Coach: Sit for the Anthem, Get Benched

Tortorella won't stand for not standing
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2016 12:03 AM CDT
USA Hockey Coach Won't Tolerate Anthem Protests
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella on the bench against the New Jersey Devils during an NHL hockey game March 19, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

John Tortorella says he sees coaching Team USA hockey as helping his country—and he will not tolerate players failing to stand for the anthem. "If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game," he tells ESPN's Linda Cohn. Tortorella, who will return to coaching the Columbus Blue Jackets after this year's World Cup, has a son who's an Army Ranger serving in the Middle East, CBS Sports reports.

Serving in the military "by far dwarfs what we do," but "with my son over there—this might sound selfish—I want to team up with him and help my country. I get pretty caught up in representing my country," Tortorella tells the Columbus Dispatch. "There's nothing like it." The World Cup takes place in Toronto from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, and CBS notes that the anthem protocol leaves little room for Colin Kaepernick-style pre-game protests: National anthems will not be played before World Cup games, though it's not clear what the protocol will be for Team USA's three pre-tournament exhibition games. (A US soccer star has joined Kaepernick in refusing to stand for the anthem.)

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