SBD/September 17, 2012/Franchises

NHL Lockout, Day 2: Most Teams Not Laying Off Staffers This Early

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Molson previously advised his staff they would be put on a reduced work schedule
The Maple Leafs Saturday announced that the team "will not be laying off any staff" during the NHL lockout, according to Kevin McGran of the TORONTO STAR. MLSE President & COO Tom Anselmi in an e-mail said that it "looks like jobs are safe for support staff." Anselmi: "No plans for anything like that at this point in time. In the past we have redeployed people, but nothing planned at this time.” McGran noted during previous NBA and NHL lockouts, staff members "like the media relations crew simply helped out with some of the organization’s other sports teams," such as the Raptors, AHL Marlies or MLS Toronto FC. Meanwhile, a source said that the NHL "would be laying off at its head office." But NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly "denied it" (THESTAR.com, 9/15). The GLOBE & MAIL's MacLeod, Gordon, Bailey & Walton reported Canadiens President & CEO Geoff Molson "advised the team’s administrative employees two weeks ago that they would be put on a reduced work schedule in the event of a labour disruption." Canadiens VP Donald Beauchamp: “There are no layoffs in the plan. Everyone is going to be working a four-day week.” The measure "affects office employees, arena workers, security guards and support staff at the Bell Centre." Meanwhile, the Candiens are "going ahead with their annual charity golf tournament next week." Team alumni will "fill in for the roster players at the event, which typically raises [C]$500,000 for the Canadiens’ children’s foundation, and season-ticket holders have already been informed that their ducats will be honoured in the event of a truncated season" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/15).

WHAT TEAMS ARE OFFERING TO STAFF: In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch wrote some Senators employees "were given layoff notices weeks ago" that would take effect today if the lockout was not avoided. The Flames reportedly are "offering unpaid leave during the NHL work stoppage" (OTTAWA SUN, 9/16). However, Sharks Exec VP/Business Operations Malcolm Bordelon said there are "no plans to do any sort of layoffs" among the team's front office staff. He added that team is "actually going to try to utilize the time to do projects that have been backlogged," as well as staff training and community outreach. Bordelon said the Sharks are likely to schedule "some interactive opportunities for fans to come down here and maybe meet with coach or general manager or broadcasters" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/16). The Lightning on Friday announced that the team "is not planning immediate staffing changes" (TAMPABAY.com, 9/15).

BUYER'S REMORSE? In L.A., Helene Elliott noted NHL teams yesterday "began announcing refund plans for season-ticket holders." The Ducks said that fans "who keep their money with the club will receive 5% interest on the money and credit for all games missed, which is the same as the Kings' policy." Fans who want an immediate refund "will get that plus 1% interest" (LATIMES.com, 9/16). In Raleigh, Chip Alexander notes an e-mail to Hurricanes season-ticket holders states they "will not pay for any games which go unplayed." It said that season-ticket holders will get 3% "simple interest on money in their ticket accounts, accrued between Sunday and the end of the lockout, and that it can be used to buy other tickets this season and next season" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/17). The WINNIPEG SUN reported Jets fans can "keep their money with the Jets and collect 3% interest toward 2013-14 tickets, or get their money back every 15 days of lockout season, with only 1% interest" (WINNIPEG SUN, 9/17). Meanwhile, in Illinois, Tim Sassone notes the Blackhawks yesterday postponed this Saturday's "training camp festival." The team said that the event "will be rescheduled if there is a training camp, and all tickets will be honored." The Blackhawks in an e-mail to fans said any "refunds for any canceled games will include an additional two percent interest" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 9/17).

MOMENTUM HALTED: In Miami, George Richards writes the general thought is the Kings and Panthers "are two teams who will be most negatively affected by a prolonged NHL lockout." The Kings will see a "lengthy wait to raise" their '12 Stanley Cup banner. That "could affect their ability to capitalize on the moment." Meanwhile, after "a decade of futility and turnover, the Panthers are trending north -- and fans are taking notice." But the Panthers, a franchise "which operates in the red, could actually be helped financially by a short-term work stoppage." If the lockout "wiped out the opening month, the Panthers would lose just three home games and would save big bucks by not paying salary nor paying for a long-scheduled road trip." An NHL return by November "would work out pretty good for the Panthers -- since that is the time of year when their attendance begins an upward trend." Richards: "Snowbirds usually bring better crowds" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/17). In Nashville, Josh Cooper wrote the lockout "could hurt the Predators" after the team has advanced to the second round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. The Predators also announced a "team-record 25 sellouts" in the '11-12 season (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/16). 

GETTING TOGETHER ON THEIR OWN: In Columbus, Aaron Portzline reports a "group of 20 or so Blue Jackets will continue to skate most mornings in the OhioHealth Ice Haus" attached to Nationwide Arena. The players are "free to do so" because the venue is owned by Franklin County, not the team. But the players "will buy their own Gatorade, do their own laundry and sharpen their own skates" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 9/17). In Ft. Lauderdale, Harvey Fialkov reported most veteran Panther players "will rent ice-time at Saveology.com Iceplex." The players "will not be allowed to use the dressing room or the BB&T Center, and are forbidden to speak to any staff members" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/16).
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