Bruins owner last to announce COVID-19 worker fund, still falls short

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Ailish Forfar
·NHL Editor
·3 min read
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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MARCH 12: A view outside of TD Garden, the venue that hosts the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics on March 12, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. It has been announced that NBA and NHL seasons have been suspended due to COVID-19 with hopes of returning later in the spring. The NBA, NHL, NCAA and MLB have all announced cancellations or postponements of events because of the virus. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
The Boston Bruins owners were the last to announce funding for part-time workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins announced Saturday that the Jacobs Family has established a $1.5-million fund for part-time and game day workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They now join the rest of the 31 NHL teams to officially take action after undergoing extreme scrutiny from employees and fans for their apathetic efforts surrounding the global crisis.

The Bruins’ statement reads:

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.

Take note of the careful wording in the release, if the six remaining regular season Bruins games are not played. This means that workers will not receive any financial support until the NHL comes to a decision on how to proceed with the rest of the regular season, which could take weeks or months. The Bruins were set to play 6 more home games at TD Garden, with sights set on a lengthy playoff run, having an eight-point lead on the division.

Out of all NHL teams, only the Buffalo Sabres and now the Bruins have included this pathetic clause in their releases. Pegula Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Sabres, stated on March 14 that game day employees will only be compensated if the games in which they are scheduled to work are cancelled. Right now, the games are considered ‘suspended’ and not ‘cancelled’.

[Related: How NHL clubs are paying their part-time workers during shutdown]

Social media has played a massive role in pressuring corporations to financially support their workers amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Just last week, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation folded under the pressure and created an income bridge support program for their staff after publicly stating they would not.

Shortly after Calgary reversed their decision, the Winnipeg Jets, who initially said they wouldn’t pay their part-time staff either, followed suit. True North Sports + Entertainment, the owners of the Jets, agreed to pay their staff through the regular season whether the games actually happen or not.

[Related: NHL taking steps to control 'inevitable' spread of COVID-19]

The NHL has not spoken officially on how it may approach the rest of the 2019-20 season, but the proposed solution discussed most often seems to be a 20 or 24-team tournament that will begin with a play-in round to establish seeding for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The first confirmed case of the COVID-19 infection in the NHL was announced Tuesday night, with the Ottawa Senators revealing that an unnamed player had tested positive and was receiving treatment for their symptoms in isolation.

“The virus’s impact on our community was inevitable to a certain extent,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told LeBrun. “It was really just a matter of time until we were going to have our first player test positive.”

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