As of this writing, the Boston Bruins stand as the only team that has yet to announce how they are going to take care of their employees amidst the unprecedented hockey stoppage due to the coronavirus.
It’s been a week since the NHL regular season was suspended and NHL players were advised to self-quarantine. It’s been a few days since the responsible people across the entire United States of America began practicing social distancing amidst school closings, work shutdowns and shelters in place in certain areas of the country.
Every other NHL team, including the notoriously stingy Ottawa Senators, has announced their intentions when it comes to making their workers whole, and in nearly every case they have opted to take care of their game-night and part-time employees that work while games are being played in the NHL arenas.
A group of concerned Bruins fans have even put together a GoFundMe page for the TD Garden employees that’s seen donations from people across the Black and Gold spectrum, including players like Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and has raised over $33,000 to date.
Those kinds of donations will help employees already missing out on the tips they count on when events take place at TD Garden and will help those out-of-work employees immediately.
The GoFundMe organizers set out their simple mission in starting up the page: "Hundreds of loyal TD Garden workers will lose considerable and critical income during the suspension of events. Bruins and Celtics fans should step up and help these families fill the void caused by this terrible health crisis. We should come together as a community to demonstrate our strength, mutual loyalty and commitment.”
Obviously, the money raised through GoFundMe doesn’t address the long term financial needs of TD Garden employees who have mouths to feed and bills to pay.
Last week, the Bruins released a statement through Bruins VP of Marketing and Communications Matt Chmura saying they intended to come out with “further information” about helping their TD Garden employees, with the sheer size of the Delaware North parent company cited as one of the challenges.
“Delaware North has operations in over 50 sports stadiums, ballparks and arenas throughout the world. The hardworking associates at each location, including TD Garden, are facing great challenges due to the impact of COVID-19 on the sports industry. Delaware North at its core is a family company and our top priority is to provide our associates, and their families, with the assurances they deserve during this difficult time. We are actively exploring support options and will have further information in the coming days.”
Well, we’re still waiting for the further information.
The statement was released last Friday. Since then, it’s been crickets from Delaware North while their employees sit in the dark, waiting and wondering where help is going to come from, and if it is even going to come. It’s a bad, bad look to this point from a billion dollar company that has profited handsomely from the game of hockey.
It’s also simply not good enough. One would expect Delaware North is going to do the right thing by their employees given the dire situation, and given the bailouts expected from the federal government for all manner of service industries. Every company, big and small, is going to feel the pain from a global stock market that’s been in freefall for weeks now.
But the optics of remaining silent are flat-out bad at this point, and somebody within Delaware North really needs to step up and say something. Unfortunately, waiting so long is going to make them look like they were responding to bad press rather than simply stepping up and doing the right thing, as they surely always intended to do.
The Bruins’ parent company has had almost a week to formulate a sensible plan and communicate their intent to their employees. That should be more than enough time to ease the anxiety of the people that keep the business going, and effectively do what every other team across the league has already done in short order.
It’s time for somebody from Bruins ownership to step up and say something after being the last to act across the NHL.