NHL players will get their remaining paychecks for the season, even as the league pauses play amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN on Friday that players will receive checks for pay periods of Feb. 24 to March 5, March 6 to March 23 -- and March 23 through the remainder of the regular season. The NHL's collective bargaining agreement contains a paragraph allowing teams to negotiate new salaries for players if the league "suspends, ceases or reduces operations" in-season because of "a state of war or other cause beyond the control of the [NHL] or of the [team]."
Daly told ESPN the NHL has "advised clubs not to rely on [the] paragraph and to pay players and provide benefits in accordance with CBA and [standard player contracts]."
The NHL indefinitely suspended its season Thursday, fewer than 24 hours after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the NBA did the same. Commissioner Gary Bettman told NHL Network on Friday that the league intends to "complete the season and get through the playoffs and award the Stanley Cup," but there is no "timeframe ... one way or the other."
In the meantime, players are to remain in their team's "home cities absent unusual circumstances," Daly told TSN's Ryan Rishaug on Friday. The NHL will allow players to return to their families if their team's "city residence is only temporary at this point."
The NHL will not mandate testing players for the coronavirus, unless they are showing symptoms or get sick. The league advised against players conducting informal skates during the "initial phase" of their pause, but Daly admitted the NHL envisions opening team facilities to allow players "to work out and skate on a voluntary basis in small groups."
"At this point, I'm not in a position to say when that will be," Daly said. "We will see how the next week or so plays out."
Solar4America Ice at San Jose, which houses the Sharks' practice facility, is closed through at least March 22 after Santa Clara County revised its mass-gathering ban Friday and barred gatherings of 100 or more people. The public health department said Santa Clara County currently has 79 confirmed cases, and the United States surpassed 2,000 nationwide Friday afternoon.