As COVID-19 continues to ramp up while the sporting world shuts down, sports organizations and franchises across the globe have had to not only essentially suspend all or most operations, but figure out how to best take care of their full-time and part-time staff during the most uncertain time anyone in the industry has seen to date.
Suffice to say, some have risen to the occasion, while some (hello, Boston Bruins) have dropped the ball right through the floor.
Dallas Stars president Jim Lites and general manager Jim Nill, have taken another approach and decided to take voluntary 50 percent pay cuts with the organization’s more vulnerable, part-time and casual employees in mind.
“As soon as this virus hit and we started to see where things were going, we knew it was going to hit [owner Tom Gaglardi] hard, as he's in the hotel/restaurant business. And that it was going to hit all of us. We just thought this was the right thing for our organization to do,” GM Jim Nill told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
“We're just looking to help somebody else. Jim and I are very fortunate. The game's been great to us. But within our organization, we have a lot of younger people working who live paycheck-to-paycheck. We hope this is something that can help them down the road.”
The slashes to Lites and Nill’s salaries were fully voluntary and not related to any team staffing reductions or wage cuts, according to Wyshynski. Nill added that there are still talks to be had internally for the Stars organizations about staffing and finances.
To that end, Nill found it critical that those in high-paying, secure positions such as the one he holds get out ahead of things in front of things before the lower-level workers were affected.
“But we felt that if we got ahead of this ourselves, maybe that helps out that part of it,” he said.
These “human” moves are a breath of fresh air after what’s transpired with a number of other NHL clubs over the past week.
Jeremy Jacobs and the Boston Bruins have handled this whole thing particularly egregiously, announcing that around 150 team staffers and TD Garden employees will either be placed on leave or have their salaries reduced during the NHL’s pause, with many permanent layoffs imminent as well.
The New Jersey Devils said they were cutting salaries by 20 percent before they got publicly shamed into switching course. The Montreal Canadiens are laying off salaried employees, too.
Strange, dark times right now, but the Stars’ “Jims” came through with a feel-good move here.
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