PIHL commissioner Ed Sam has taken a lot of heat this week after it was reported, first by KDKA, that he sent an email to league representatives discouraging the playing of the national anthem before hockey games.
Wednesday, at the PIHL Board of Governors meeting in Monroeville, Sam talked about his mistake.
"Whenever you make a decision and you have found out that you made a mistake, you have to face up to the fact that you made a mistake," Sam said. "I did that [Wednesday], and we need to fix it. We need to fix the mistake and move forward."
Sam took full responsibility for the mistake. In fact, PIHL executive committee president Tom Trzcinski said Wednesday at the meeting that the organization's executive committee didn't know about the email and that he finally heard about it through the media.
Still, Trzcinski said the committee continues to stand behind the commissioner.
"I know that the executive committee stands behind Ed," Trzcinski said.
"He's been forthright and forward while carrying this on his shoulders. I know it's been trying and very, very difficult."
Sam sent the email last week after multiple games this season were forced to end early because they did not finish within their allotted ice time, or curfew. If a game is called due to curfew, it can be protested.
Part of the reason for this is that the PIHL changed the length of each period from 15 to 17 minutes. So the national anthem couldn't necessarily be afforded as much time, and some singers were taking too long.
So Sam said that he wanted to enforce a rule that states the procedures before the game, such as the national anthem, are permitted, but are not to take up any of the time allotted to the game.
"I did advise them to enforce this rule and to not do the national anthem because that could cause a curfew of the game," Sam said.
After hearing about it, the executive committee made it clear Monday night that the national anthem would be played before games. But to speed the pregame process, the committee is considering sending a taped anthem that is 1:10-1:15 in length to play at each game.