“It” wasn’t supposed to even be on the agenda at Wednesday’s NHL Board of Governors meeting.

This was supposed to be a regular, run-of-the-mill meeting in New York City to rubber stamp a rule change, and get regular updates from various league departments.

“It” was a discussion about national anthems, and their role prior to hockey games. You see, what occurred throughout the NFL on Sunday and Monday forced the topic onto the agenda. It was deemed important to talk about how to handle potential protests by players as well as anthems, as was the pending Penguins visit to the White House.

For many years, hockey has done a much better job of embracing the anthem both in arena and on television than other sports in North America. There are few, if any, alive that can remember an NHL game without an anthem just minutes before puck drop. It has become key to every game, almost as a countdown or last signal that the game is about to begin.

Other sports in North America have been asked by television to move the anthem(s) outside that eight-to-10 minute “TV Window” just prior to the start of the game. Networks have used that time adjacent to the game to run high-priced commercials instead.