Amid the NHL’s suspended season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a fair amount of controversy generated by certain ownerships groups refusing to commit to paying laid-off arena workers and employees through the work stoppage. Given Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s reputation for having a tight grip on his wallet, folks watching the situation unfold were somewhat dismayed, but not surprised when Melnyk initially stayed quiet.
But today, it appears that the owner has come through:
Further update from Sens/Melnyk on paying employees. pic.twitter.com/kRMPGyuY6y— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) March 17, 2020
In a statement issued by the team, it was announced that Eugene Melnyk had personally pledged to compensate both part-time and hourly workers for their lost shifts due to the ongoing health crisis, up to the end of the NHL regular season. This also extends to Belleville Senators part-time employees, up until April 11, the beginning of the Calder Cup playoffs.
The announcement comes after the Sens had initially said they would take care of their employees based on “individual need”. This is obviously a much better alternative to that, as well as a far bigger commitment.
This is totally and unequivocally the right thing to do, and in spite of everything, Melnyk deserves praise for that. Especially when one considers that there are a host of major sports teams still refusing to commit to doing the same. In terms of the NHL, the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, and Vegas Golden Knights have yet to commit to fully compensating their employees.