How NHL teams, players are supporting arena staff during postponement
With the NHL on an indefinite hiatus, many are wondering if the thousands of part-time workers at arenas throughout the league will be compensated.
Teams and players are starting to share their plans. Here's a list of all the announcements.
New Jersey Devils
The owners of the New Jersey Devils said Friday they will pay hourly employees and Prudential Center staff for postponed games and events while the NHL season remains paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Employees are family. ... It's important to band together and lift each other up during these times," Devils chairman Josh Harris and vice-chairman David Blitzer told Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
After the league postponed operations Thursday, the Devils called their team and arena staff members "the heartbeat of the organization" and said the club is committed to assisting them through the hiatus.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky announced he's pledging $100K toward the salaries of the team's arena workers.
Florida ownership has also pledged to cover any further outstanding costs beyond Bobrovsky's pledge, according to Sportsnet Elliotte Friedman.
Detroit Red Wings
Ilitch Holdings, the company that owns the Detroit Red Wings and MLB's Tigers, set up a $1-million fund to cover one month's wages for part-time staff for games, concerts, and events they would've otherwise worked.
Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Capitals and the NBA's Wizards, told Capital One Arena staff Friday morning that anyone scheduled to work an event - including Capitals and Wizards games - through March 31 will be paid, a source told The Athletic's Tarik El-Bashir.
True North Sports and Entertainment will pay part-time and casual employees for all scheduled NHL and AHL home games through March 31.
San Jose Sharks
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will compensate part-time employees who were slated to work Lightning and NCAA Tournament games and other events through the end of March, according to The Athletic's Joe Smith.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced a plan to pay full- and part-time arena and service employees. The Penguins Foundation, the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and the players will combine to provide funding.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will also implement a plan to pay employees impacted by the recent events, according to TSN's Mark Masters.
"Anyone who is affected by this temporary halt in our operations will receive a financial payment from MLSE to bridge employees between their (employment insurance) benefits and 95% of their regular average earnings for four weeks," MLSE said in a statement, according to The Athletic's Blake Murphy.
Additionally, Toronto's five professional sports teams have banded together to announce the initiative "Team Toronto," which will see management, players, and coaches contribute to a fund that supports hourly workers.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are joining the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers and the Staples Center leadership to establish a fund that will financially support all hourly event staff employees the work stoppage is affecting.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment announced a compensation program for part-time employees. Prior to the announcement, former employee and longtime season-ticket holder Raymond Lau began a GoFundMe to which Flames players, including captain Mark Giordano and Sean Monahan, have contributed.
The Carolina Hurricanes will compensate PNC Arena and Hurricanes event staff for lost wages due to the postponement. The funding will be provided by team owner Tom Dundon as well as the Carolina Hurricanes Foundation. The players also made a donation to help supplement the incomes of event staff.
The Arizona Coyotes have partnered with Gila River Arena to compensate the rink's part-time and hourly employees who'd been scheduled to work the club's remaining eight home games, the team announced Monday.
The Buffalo Sabres announced that their game-day employees at both the organization's Buffalo and Rochester arenas will be paid any lost wages due to regular-season game cancelations, Pegula Sports and Entertainment announced Saturday.
"Even though we expect that the games will be played, we want to assure them they will be paid in the event that is not the case," the team's owners said in a statement.
The Boston Bruins have yet to announce a plan to compensate workers at TD Garden, but Brad Marchand shared a GoFundMe on Twitter to help arena employees. The forward and his teammates have started to donate.
Dallas Stars president Brad Alberts announced that part-time employees previously scheduled to work Stars games through the end of March will be compensated, according to Dallas News' Matthew DeFranks.
Nashville Predators COO Sean Henry says staff at Bridgestone Arena will be paid for any shifts already scheduled, and the organization will attempt to come up with a plan moving forward for other lost events, according to Newschannel 5's Steve Layman.
Vancouver Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini announced that Canucks Sports and Entertainment initiated a program that will help any part-time employee who requires support to avoid financial hardship during the disruption.
In addition, the Canucks have offered to divert some of their staff who are no longer working to Metro Vancouver care homes facing staffing shortages.
Comcast Spectacor has vowed to pay "All game-day employees who were originally scheduled to work Flyers, 76ers, and Wings games that have now been postponed between March 14-31," according to the Courier-Post's Dave Isaac.
Kroenke Sports and Entertainment will pay its part-time and hourly stadium employees at Pepsi Center for the next 30 days, Colorado Avalanche team president Josh Kroenke confirmed Sunday. In addition, the company will continue to work with local program We Don’t Waste to help provide food for those in need.
For anyone ineligible for employment insurance, the Montreal Canadiens will pay 75% of the salary the employee would have received for the remaining regular-season home games of the NHL club (four) or the AHL's Laval Rocket (eight).
For those eligible to receive EI, the organization will increase benefits by 40%, so employees will get 95% of the salary they would have received for the remaining games.
Canadiens players will make a financial contribution of their own to offset the difference between the club's measures and the compensation that workers "would have otherwise received," the team announced Monday.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets will pay hourly game-day employees for all games they were scheduled to work that don't take place through the end of the regular season.
New York Islanders
New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said that although the Islanders do not employ game-day workers at either Barclays Center or Nassau Coliseum because the team doesn't own either building, he's aware of a plan to compensate those workers in the event that games are lost, according to The Athletic's Arthur Staple.
St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues ownership has created the Blues Employee Assistance Fund to lessen the financial hardship being experienced by game-night workers at Enterprise Center, the team announced Monday. The fund will provide support to several hundred employees who report directly to the Blues organization and are paid on game nights.
Blues ownership, all Blues players, and local donors - led by a $100,000 donation from season-ticket holder Andy Frisella - worked together late last week and over the weekend to establish the fund.
"This is a great idea and the boys are really happy to play a part to help everyone who makes things run smoothly for us and the fans on game nights," St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "We're also really proud to partner with Blues ownership and the front office, and really appreciate the contribution they're making to help the cause. We're a tight organization throughout, and it shows with the creation of this fund."
On Monday, the Ottawa Senators committed to developing a program based on the individual needs of their staff, according to The Athletic's Hailey Salvian. The program will help any part-time employees who require support to avoid financial hardship during work the stoppage.
One day later, the club revealed that owner Eugene Melnyk personally pledged to pay the workers the income they would have received if not for the shutdown.
New York Rangers
Madison Square Garden sent a memo that stated its event-driven employees will be paid through the next pay period, ending March 22, according to SNY's Ian Begley.
MSG said in the memo that it's working to develop longer-term plans to support its entire work force. It is also working to establish a relief fund to help those administrative and event-driven employees "facing a range of personal hardships" due to the coronavirus.
The Minnesota Wild announced measures to support part-time employees of the team as well as the community during the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team announced Tuesday. The Wild will pay its part-time employees who were scheduled to work the final six regular-season home games.