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Bobrovsky makes donation to help workers; how teams are handling employees


SUNRISE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 27: Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Florida Panthers looks on against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at BB&T Center on February 27, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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One of the many concerns with the current suspension of professional sports due to the coronavirus pandemic is the impact it will have on workers (both part-time and full-time) in stadiums and arenas. Those employees are dependent on games and events to earn their income.

Several teams around the NHL are making sure their employees will continue to get compensated during the current stoppage.

Some players are chipping in to help as well.

One specific example in the NHL: Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is donating $100,000 to make sure all part-time staff who work at the BB&T Center get paid during the hiatus.

Bobrovsky’s teammates are also matching that donation, while Panthers ownership is pledging contribute whatever else is needed.

NBA star Kevin Love, currently a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has made a similar contribution to help arena workers in Cleveland.

While this is a great gesture from players like Bobrovsky (and his Panthers’ teammates) and Love, there should still be an expectation that the teams themselves provide for their employees in a situation like this that is beyond everyone’s control.

Several teams have already made clear that their employees will continue to get paid during the hiatus. The Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Washington Capitals, and Detroit Red Wings are among the teams that have announced that their employees will continue to get paid as they normally would. The Philadelphia Flyers also announced that all of their employees will continue to get paid through the end of March. In Pittsburgh, the Penguins announced a plan to pay all of their part-and full-time employees that will be funded by Penguins players, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

There are, however, some teams that are currently holding out on making such a commitment.

Specifically, the Winnipeg Jets.

Mark Chipman and Kevin Donnelly were asked directly about compensation for arena workers during the stoppage.

Said Chipman, via Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg News, “Those people are on part-time agreements. They work when we work. So, regrettably, to the extent we’re not putting on shows and games, those people obviously would not have a call to work.”

Added Donnelly: “With a postponement, it’s different than a cancellation. Hoping we can move as many events into a postponement so that work is just delayed and it would still be coming. If we can move an event from a date in March to a date in August then the work still occurs.”

The Buffalo Sabres echoed a similar sentiment to The Athletic’s John Vogl, saying in a statement: “As of now, we expect the games to be rescheduled. We are evaluating next steps should the games be cancelled.”

The problem, of course, is that there is no guarantee when (or if) these games or events will be rescheduled. Even if they are rescheduled at later dates that could still be taking away dates that could have been filled by other games, shows or events on top of the rescheduled games.

MORE: • Hockey leagues following NHL’s lead • Uncertainty awaits as NHL puts season on ice — for now • How grassroots hockey has been affected by COVID-19 • Where the NHL left off with 2019-20 season in limbo • Broadcaster John Forslund in self-quarantine after possible coronavirus exposure

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.