Minor league hockey coach defends the national anthem

A minor league hockey coach who came under fire for telling his players to respect the national anthem or they wouldn’t play is defending himself.

John Krupinsky, an assistant coach with Connecticut’s Danbury Hat Tricks of the Federal Hockey League, was filmed giving a preseason speech to the team, and the video quickly went viral.

“Listen up for a second,” Krupinsky said. “First day of camp. Something really important. We’re not women’s soccer. We’re not the NFL. If there’s anybody here that’s gonna be disrespectful to either the American or the Canadian national anthem, grab your gear, and get the …. out now.

“Because you’ll never see the ice in this arena. We don’t have that problem in hockey. We’re better than that. But there’s no sense in wasting anybody’s time if that …. was gonna happen. I don’t believe it would happen here. We’re the most patriotic sport that they have out there. Just keep that in mind, thank you.”


With some people protesting and calling for him to be fired, Krupinsky appeared on “Fox and Friends” Thursday to defend his remarks.

“I take pride in my country,” Krupinsky said. “I’ve unfortunately seen [the flag] cover too many coffins. I think we can take a timeout to give two minutes’ worth of respect to our soldiers, to our firemen, to your policemen. I don’t think that’s asking too much. I’m not going to apologize for asking players to show a little bit of respect when it’s either the American or Canadian national anthem.”

Krupinsky is also a police sergeant with the Danbury police dept.

“Some people said, ‘Oh, you wouldn’t let your players protest.’ I want to be clear: My players would be free to protest on their day off. If they had something they wanted to do. My owners are awesome — they would give them the team bus to go.


“But when they’re playing the national anthem, I don’t think it’s too much to ask your employees to show some respect for the flag and for the country.”

Krupinsky’s original speech came in the middle of the Women’s World Cup, where U.S. star Megan Rapinoe declined to sing the national anthem before games.

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