North America gets Canadian and U.S. anthems, Europe won't have one
The NHL and NHLPA announced pregame protocol for the World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday evening, with a slight change.
While NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly originally said no national anthems would be played before games, that's no longer the case:
The national anthems of the respective countries competing in each game will be played as part of the pregame ceremonies in each of the WCH pre-tournament and tournament games. For Team North America, the national anthems of both Canada and the U.S., will be played before their games.
Europe will not have an anthem, the NHL also announced:
Participants from Team Europe were strongly of the view that notwithstanding their commitment to work together as a team toward a common objective in this tournament, their passion and loyalty for their own respective homelands and anthems made any surrogate musical tribute somewhat artificial and therefore unnecessary. Accordingly, only the anthem(s) of Team Europe’s opponent will be played before that team’s games.
National anthems have become a central point of discussion ahead of the tournament, in light of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner."
On Tuesday, U.S. head coach John Tortorella said he'd bench any player who refused to stand for the anthem, reiterating Wednesday he's "not backing off" that stance.