A Connecticut hockey coach who went viral for telling his players to stand for the American and Canadian national anthems said Thursday he is not going to apologize for asking his players to show respect.

John Krupinsky, an assistant coach for the Danbury Hat Tricks of the Federal Hockey League, appeared on “Fox & Friends” and said the national anthem is important to him.

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“I take pride in my country,” said Krupinksy, who is also a police sergeant with the Danbury Police Department.

“I’ve unfortunately seen it 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 insisted he would let his players protest, but on their own time.

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

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“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 video went viral earlier this week. He was seen telling his players that he wouldn’t tolerate anyone disrespecting the national anthem.

“If there’s anybody here who is going to be disrespectful to either the American or the Canadian national anthem, grab your gear and get the f–k out now because you’ll never see the ice in this arena,” he said. “We don’t have that problem in hockey. We’re better than that, but there was no sense in wasting anybody’s time if that s–t was going to happen.”

He told Todd Starnes on “The Todd Starnes Radio Show” he didn’t expect the video to gain as much traction as it did.

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The Hat Tricks are about to enter their first season in the Federal Hockey League. The team will open the season Oct. 25 at the Danbury Ice Arena against the Port Huron Howlers.



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