The NHL Panthers yesterday announced the layoffs of "an unknown number of staff members," according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. The Panthers are "believed to be the NHL's second team to publicly announce layoffs" since the CBA expired at 11:59pm ET last Saturday, joining the Senators. The team as of yesterday "listed 149 employees on its staff directory across all platforms, including hockey operations, business operations, arena operations and at the team's training facility." Jobs were "reduced in multiple departments" (AP, 9/18). In Ft. Lauderdale, Davis & Fialkov cite a source as saying that "no one under contract in hockey operations was laid off, including coaches, scouts and personnel evaluators." Another source estimated that "as many as a dozen employees were laid off, and some were told they would be rehired after the lockout." Davis & Fialkov note the Panthers meanwhile "are continuing to sell tickets for the opener and beyond." The team on Sunday launched an "I Love Panthers Hockey" campaign, "promising that the entire Panthers staff (more than 100 employees) will make appearances at charitable organizations, schools, rinks and neighborhoods throughout South Florida on Fridays beginning this week to promote the team and assist with various charitable initiatives" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/19). In Miami, George Richards reports the layoffs, which include mascot Stanley C. Panther, "came mostly in arena operations and sales." Meanwhile, Panthers season-ticket holders will "have the option of getting 10 percent of monies paid to the team forwarded to future sales or get a 5 percent refund" in the event that any regular-season games are canceled. Fans also "can get full refunds if the entire season is canceled." Any refunds "wouldn't come until the lockout ends and a revised schedule is announced" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/19).
CAPITAL INVESTMENTS: A spokesperson for Capitals Owner Monumental Sports & Entertainment said that the team "won't be laying off employees or making staff members take pay cuts during the lockout." In DC, Stephen Whyno noted the staff directory on the team's website shows that the team "employs 124 people, though that includes television and radio rights-holders" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 9/18). Meanwhile, the Capitals in a letter to fans regarding the team's policy for season-ticket holders wrote, "We will not charge your account for any NHL game, preseason or regular season, that is not played. In appreciation of your continued support and loyalty we would like to provide you with a 1% APR interest on the funds you have on account related to games that are not played" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 9/18).
WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN: A Blackhawks spokesperson said the team will not make any personnel changes "for the foreseeable future" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 9/18). A source said that the Stars organization "has not had any layoffs, that everyone has been told to continue to do their jobs, and that ... everything is status quo" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 9/18).
HANGOVER CURE: The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek writes in a "weird way, the lockout could be a blessing in disguise" for the NHL Kings. Despite coming off their Stanley Cup win, the Kings were "never going to displace the NBA’s Lakers in terms of popularity," and when the Lakers acquired G Steve Nash and C Dwight Howard, it "cemented the Lakers as the No. 1 attraction in the market, with everybody else playing catch-up." On the "plus side, what the lockout may permit the Kings to do is mitigate the effects of the Stanley Cup hangover." Teams that won one year "had a difficult time ramping it up for their title defences, largely because of the short summers, the wear and tear on players’ bodies, and sometimes, the length and breadth of their actual celebrations" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/19).