NEW YORK– The NHL, which remains in a shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, announced additional postponements to its 2020 sports and event calendar.
The NHL draft, scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal, will be held at a later date. The league also postponed the scouting combine, slated for June 1-6 in Buffalo, N.Y., and the season-ending awards ceremony, scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas.
The location and dates of all of the events are now uncertain.
The NHL statement added, “With respect to the Bridgestone NHL Awards, the League looks forward to returning to Las Vegas in the future. Las Vegas has been the home of the Bridgestone NHL Awards since 2009.”
The NHL season was suspended on March 12, with the league stating it would consider opening a training camp in 45 days. Three weeks remained in the regular season at the point of the closure.
On March 16, players were told they could return to their offseason homes, if possible.
Earlier this week, the NHL was in the news for cutting the pay of some employees in the league office by 25 percent, effective April 1st.
The reduction is in response to financial losses the league is enduring because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bloomberg news said the pay cut would affect employees who earn more than “about $75,000” (or more) annually. Bill Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner, confirmed the cuts but declined further comment to Bloomberg.
The pay cuts do not apply to team staff or players.
The league suspended play March 12 with just over three weeks remaining in the regular season. The NHL is reviewing how it eventually might resume the season and hold the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Also Tuesday, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens announced it will lay off employees. Groupe CH, which owns the Canadiens and Rocket Laval of the American Hockey League, said the layoffs will impact 60 percent of employees and will take effect March 30.
“This decision was necessary given the significant impact the pandemic has had on the sports and entertainment industries,” Groupe CH said in a news release.
The organization said it has set aside funds that will pay employee insurance benefits and keep employees at about 80 percent of the salary for eight weeks. The fund also can be tapped into to provide loans to employees.
Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, which owns the New Jersey Devils and the NBA Philadelphia 76ers, backed off on its plan to cut the pay of salaried employees by 20 percent during the pandemic. Co-owner Josh Harris said his group had a change of heart.
“Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working through this very difficult situation,” Harris said. “As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a temporary 20% pay cut while preserving everyone’s full benefits — and keeping our 1500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season.
“After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries. This is an extraordinary time in our world — unlike any most of us have ever lived through before — and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment. To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong.”
–Field Level Media
–Field Level Media