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Spezza spearheaded Leafs' plan to pool money for Marlies players

Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

Jason Spezza is helping to ensure Toronto Marlies players get paid.

Spezza led an initiative in which a group of Toronto Maple Leafs players pooled together money to make a contribution to their AHL counterparts.

"I have to give Spezz a lot of credit on this one," captain John Tavares said when asked about the contribution, according to Sportsnet's Luke Fox. "He kind of brought it to the forefront from the leadership standpoint, and the leadership group thought it was really important.

"I think we know - society as a whole, but certainly in our game - how tough a year it is for so many. So, within the organization, we wanted to make sure we try to take care of our own."

The 37-year-old Spezza is on a league-minimum contract this season but has totaled nearly $89 million in career earnings, according to CapFriendly.

An AHL player's minimum salary for the 2020-21 campaign is $51,000, per the league's CBA. However, due to a shortened season and minimal gate revenue, players' salaries have been reduced by 52%.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe had high praise for his club's actions.

"It just, first of all, speaks to the character of our group, but I think it also just speaks to the recognition of the fact, through this pandemic, people in all walks of life are going through some tough times, and the hockey business as well at different levels," Keefe said.

"If you're a guy playing on an AHL contract, it's a challenge to get through this period," Keefe continued. "I don't know a whole lot about it, but not surprised that our players have the character that they do and step up."

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