Former Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach John Tortorella has made it quite clear Team USA players who don’t stand for the National Anthem at the World Cup of Hockey will not take the ice.
The off-season is nearing its close, and the Tampa Bay Lightning are about to make their way back to the Sunshine State to prepare themselves for the new season. Of course, there are some Lightning players that have a different destination in their future.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a total of 12 players making their way to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, to represent their respective countries in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The tournament is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, September 17th and run through Saturday, October 1st.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop is the one lone Lightning player who will be representing the Bolts on Team USA. While Bishop may not have played for the Lightning during his tenure here in the Bolts Nation, Lightning fans know their netminder is in pretty good hands; those of former Lightning Head Coach John Tortorella.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Now, unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, there is probably a good chance you have heard about the epic storm that started when San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand during the singing of the National Anthem citing the “oppression of black people and people of color.”
As you can imagine, everyone in the world has an opinion on the matter. Some regard his protest as a ridiculous attempt at drawing attention to himself in a time when he isn’t favorably looked upon. Others have applauded his decision and attempted to lay waste to anyone who disagrees.
No matter which side of the matter hockey fans find themselves on, there is one thing we know for sure. Team USA Head Coach John Tortorella is not buying into the hype and has been crystal clear about what will happen if someone on his bench decides to make headlines with a protest of their own.
While speaking with ESPN SportsCenter Anchor Linda Cohn, Coach Tortorella explained there would be consequences should someone decide to launch a protest of their own.
"“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.” Tortorella told Cohn."
The fact of the matter is, people watch sports, including hockey, to forget about the troubles of the real world for a couple of hours and enjoy watching two teams battle it out in the spirit of competition. This goes completely by the wayside when someone, whether it be a player, coach, fan, or anyone else for that matter, attempts to make a political statement during this time.
Yes, every United States citizen has the right to exercise their first amendment rights within the limits of the law. At the same time, as the Coach of the team, Tortorella has the right to sit whoever he pleases when they fail to comply with one of his directives.
Anyone who has ever watched John Tortorella in one of his epic press conferences knows all-too-well that he is not afraid to speak his mind and when he says something, he will carry it through no matter what consequences come his way.
One would hope nothing like this comes up at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Much like the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, this international tournament is designed to bring the countries of the world together in the spirit of competition.
At the same time, it’s been made abundantly clear what will happen if something does transpire.
What do you think about Coach Tortorella’s decision to sit any player who refuses to stand for the National Anthem at the World Cup of Hockey? Do you think there will be any form of protest made at the tournament? Furthermore, which country are you pulling for in the competition?
No matter which way things end up in the long run, hockey fans are about to be treated to one heck of a competition featuring some of the best players in the world. Besides, who doesn’t love bonus hockey?