It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the Boston Bruins — and more importantly, it’s been even worse for their employees.
First, the Bruins were lambasted by the Massachusetts Attorney General for being the last team in the NHL to account for any kind of financial assistance for their TD Garden and Bruins employees once the regular season was put on pause by the coronavirus.
Now, Delaware North — the parent company for both TD Garden and the Bruins — is among the first NHL teams to announce sweeping layoffs and cuts to arena and hockey club employees on their payroll.
Delaware North announced that as of April 1, 2020, 68 of their full-time salaried associates will be placed on temporary leave, receiving one week of paid leave and eight weeks of full benefits.
Additionally, as of April 1, 82 of their full-time salaried associates will receive an indefinite salary reduction, while contracted employees obviously were not impacted.
It’s perhaps easier to say this when it’s not your own money, but there is no defending that kind of move with so many Americans headed for financial peril due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Delaware North released a brief statement addressing the cuts: “As relayed to our associates today, none of these decisions were reached without difficult and painful deliberations. These measures are intended to be temporary with associate employment and compensation returning once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage.”
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs' net worth has been pinned anywhere from $3-3.75 billion as the head of a Delaware North concessions and service giant that announced company-wide layoffs and reductions on Wednesday as well. Clearly, the business takes a massive hit with no concerts, sporting events or big gatherings happening all this month, next month and perhaps well beyond that due to the social distancing required to combat COVID-19.
Still, the Jacobs family is going to put themselves in the crosshairs for deserved criticism after the New Jersey Devils/Philadelphia 76ers owners were savaged just a couple of days ago for prompting the same kind of cost-cutting measures.
Let’s be honest here.
Jacobs has never been a very popular owner in Boston and was viewed as an NHL Governor unwilling to spend the money needed for his hockey team prior to the NHL instituting a salary cap after the 2003-04 season. This kind of stone-cold business move in the face of nationwide financial stress is going to further disenchant the Boston fan base from the people running the show on Causeway Street.
Maybe this is the only way it could go for Delaware North amidst an unprecedented work stoppage and economic downturn in this country, but they really haven’t done anything over the last few weeks to deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps things can return to normal once the coronavirus has come and gone and business gets back to normal at TD Garden, but the owners are doing something — and doing it in a way — that isn’t going to sit well with the fans they count on to fill their seats.