TD Garden

TD Garden part-time workers officially laid off

TD Garden part-time workers officially laid off

TD Garden workers waiting for some financial relief and the resumption of events at the venue amid the coronavirus crisis were officially laid off on Tuesday.

Part-time Garden workers received the news in an afternoon email, according to the Boston Globe.

In a statement to the Globe, a spokesman for the Garden and Boston Bruins said: 

“The unprecedented reality of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact to our business unfortunately resulted in us placing some of our Bruins and TD Garden full-time hourly associates on temporary leave today. This decision was difficult, and we hope this situation is temporary.”

The layoffs come three days after the Jacobs family, owners of Delaware North, the parent company of the Garden and Bruins, announced that a $1.5 million fund had been set up to help compensate part-time game-day employees. That fund wouldn't go into effect until Bruins games were officially canceled by the NHL, though.

The Bruins were the last NHL team to announce a plan to aid their part-time workers. Delaware North chairman Jeremy Jacobs, 80, has an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion. 

A GoFundMe campaign was set up in the days after the major sports' shutdowns to help the Garden's part-time workers. It included contributions from several Bruins players. Through Tuesday night, it had raised more than $41,000. 

The emailed letter to workers obtained by the Globe read in part:  

"...The coronavirus has had significant implications across all of Delaware North’s lines of business, including at your unit. All the major sports leagues suspended their seasons, governments are requiring closures and reduction of capacity at certain venues, tourism has declined, events have been canceled, and more people are simply staying home. Due to this, the Company has no choice but to ensure that we are appropriately staffed.”

The letter also said Delaware North was "committed to returning all our associates to active duty as soon as possible." 

The ice at TD Garden has melted while NHL shutdown continues

The ice at TD Garden has melted while NHL shutdown continues

It was perhaps inevitable given the lack of activity at TD Garden these days, but the ice that normally stays intact throughout the hockey season has melted away on Causeway Street.

Normally this is something done at the end of a Bruins' Stanley Cup playoff run, or at the end of the regular season if the B’s don’t make the playoffs, but now it serves as an indicator there won’t be hockey in the building anytime soon. The NHL still harbors hope they can hold playoffs later in the spring or perhaps even over the summer, but it doesn’t seem as though high-attendance events will be held for at least the next couple of months.

The good news is that it would only take a matter of days for the TD Garden bull gang to put down a new frozen sheet. The bad news is that the ice wouldn’t be very high quality if the Stanley Cup playoffs were to be played in June, July or August as some suspect might have to happen if the NHL wants to get a finish to this season.

It wouldn’t be ideal conditions, of course, but at least there might be some hockey for everybody.

At the time that the NHL season was suspended, sources at TD Garden indicated to NBC Sports Boston that the building was being asked to keep dates open for the playoffs at least into July. The latest the Stanley Cup playoffs have ended was the 2013 Cup Final series between the Bruins and Blackhawks with the final Game 6 played in Boston on June 24.

“If the season is salvaged these guys can freeze a new sheet in a day or two, no big deal,” said one TD Garden employee to the Boston Globe.

Clearly, there was no good reason for the Bruins to ring up the cooling expenses to keep the TD Garden ice if there weren’t any immediate plans for hockey. There hasn’t been hockey at the Garden since the Bruins last played a home date March 7, and it doesn’t appear there's any reason for optimism that we’ll see hockey back in Boston in April.

Jacobs family announces $1.5 million fund to help part-time TD Garden employees

Jacobs family announces $1.5 million fund to help part-time TD Garden employees

Amid a firestorm of criticism, including some from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Bruins ownership finally announced plans to support their part-time employees at TD Garden as NHL regular-season games are postponed or canceled.

More than a week following the announcement that the NHL season was going to be paused due to the coronavirus outbreak, and days after all 30 other NHL teams had made public their plans to financially back their employees, the Jacobs family announced Saturday morning they are establishing a $1.5 million fund for their part-time gameday associates.

The Bruins have postponed two home games since the season was suspended and had only six remaining regular-season games scheduled at TD Garden, but that could still mean hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for part-time Garden employees relying on that income. The Jacobs family never gave a reason for the length of time it took for this announcement to become public, and instead thanked their employees “for their patience and understanding” as they formulated a plan. They released the following statement: 

“The Jacobs Family has established a $1.5 million fund for the Boston Bruins and TD Garden part-time gameday associates who will be financially burdened if the six remaining regular season Bruins games are not played. We thank our associates for their patience and understanding while we worked through the complexity of this unprecedented situation.”

Certainly, the announcement brings peace of mind for Garden employees, and there is a GoFundMe page that through Saturday morning had more than $37,000 in donations pledged to help assist them in the meantime.

Just a couple of days ago, Healey took to Twitter to criticize Bruins ownership for their lack of action, writing:

“This is really troubling. Delaware North owns the Bruins, and its the only organization in the NHL that hasn’t announced financial support to game day employees. These wages will make a huge difference to hourly workers at the Garden. I hope the Jacobs family will act soon.”

Healey tweeted Saturday she was glad to see action taken.

While it’s good news that Bruins ownership has stepped up and done something to address the fears and concerns of their employees, the long delay in making the announcement is going to feed the notion they did it only after being prodded publicly. 

This humble hockey writer doesn’t believe that to be the case and every indication NBCSportsBoston.com had received from Bruins sources the past week was that an announcement such as this would be made after discussions through the proper corporate channels. The Garden and the Bruins are part of the portfolio owned by the Jacobs' company, Buffalo-based Delaware North. Chairman Jeremy Jacobs, 80, has an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion. 

It does seem as if the company could have bought themselves some good PR amid a very difficult time if they’d done this a week ago like just about everybody else around the NHL.