ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | LAVAL, QC. — The pandemic continues to have a global impact in all aspects of life. It’s not any different in the hockey world, as several players across the National Hockey League have tested positive for COVID-19.
On the Thursday, the NHL announced the postponements of the 2020 NHL Scouting Combine, the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards, and the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, which were all originally scheduled for the month of June, due to the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the Coronavirus.
I suspect that the readers share my disappointment that the NHL Draft which was going to take place at the Bell Centre will not take place in June. The good news is that the league has assured the organization that will host the event in the near future, most likely in 2021 or 2022.
Layoffs and Pay Cuts
There has been layoffs by companies in all industries since the start of the pandemic, and the Canadiens organization didn’t escape the unfortunate trend. Groupe CH announced on Tuesday that it will temporarily reduce staff by 60 percent effective March 30th.
The organization has established a six-million dollar assistance fund to enhance employment insurance benefits for a period of eight weeks, ensuring that employees will receive 80 percent of their base salary during this period. Groupe CH has also said that the fund will also be made available to provide loans to employees who find themselves in difficult financial situations as a result of the global pandemic.
The remaining staff will take a temporary 20 percent pay cut. This includes all of hockey operations employees with the Habs and the Rocket. “The players did their part and we want to do our own,” Claude Julien told TVA Sports. The team’s players recently committed to providing additional financial contribution to the 1,200 game-day employees.
“We’re all in it together,” added the coach. “All the personnel, whether it’s the coaches, Marc (Bergevin), the equipment staff, trainers, everyone’s on board.”
In addition to the Canadiens and the Rocket, Groupe CH owns the Evenko and L’Équipe Spectra entertainment companies.
Similar measures taken by the NHL as they temporarily will reduce the pay of it’s office employees by 25 percent effective April 1st. The league is hoping that the reduction will prevent any job losses during the pause.
Organization Helping Community
In a time of crisis like the planet is currently going through, there’s an abundance of bad news that circulates. It’s also in difficult times, that individuals and corporations step up to help people in need. Unfortunately, these stories don’t get as much attention.
Bauer Hockey drew the most attention last week, when they announced that they’re re-purposing their facilities in Blainville to make face shields so that “medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable.”
“You think about hockey being team first and then you also think about the greater community and how connected we are. I think this felt similar in that we needed to unite in this most uncertain time and [have] everybody pick up an oar and start rowing,” Bauer’s Mary-Kay Messier told NHL.com.
Once the regular season was paused, the Canadiens donated 13,000 pounds of food that would have been used during the team’s home games in March to local food banks.
Shea Weber recorded a message to appeal to English-speaking Quebecers over 70 to respect public health officials advisories during the COVID-19 outbreak. The 54 second message was sent out via robocalls.
Last Monday, Carey Price and his wife Angela announced a $50,000 donation from their Foundation to the Breakfast Club’s emergency fund to help feed children across Canada during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are lucky to have everything we do, when so many people lack access to healthy food. We feel compelled to do our part so that the most vulnerable children and communities in the country, including Indigenous communities, aren’t victims of food insecurity during this crisis,” said Angela Price via press release.
Jeff Petry and his wife Julie announced on Saturday that they have opened a $2,500 tab with Mandy’s restaurant in Westmount and with Notre-Boeuf-de-Grâce in NDG to provide meals for the health care staff working in hospitals.
Kudos to the gestures done by everyone across the globe to assist during the crisis.
On Wednesday, the Canadiens announced that they signed Gustav Olofsson to a one-year two-way contract for the 2020-21 season. The contract will pay him $750,000 at the NHL, $250,000 in the AHL, with a guaranteed minimum salary of $350,000. In 57 games with the Rocket this season, Olofsson has scored one goal and added 15 assists. He was held scoreless in three games with the Canadiens.
On Thursday, Jesse Ylonen signed a three-year entry level contract starting 2020-21 season. Ylonen played 53 games with the Finnish Liiga’s Lahti Pelicans this season, where he recorded 12 goals and 10 assists. He joined the Rocket on March 2nd on an AHL contract but didn’t play any games as he was recovering from a minor injury.
Sportsnet reported that Canadiens prospect Jordan Harris made a commitment to return to Northeastern University next season. In 33 games this season, the Canadiens 2018 third round draft pick scored three times and added 18 assists.
TV Viewing Options
With the all sports networks not having any live sports to broadcast, they have turned to broadcasting memorable games from all professional sports. RDS, TVA, and TSN690 have been replaying memorable Canadiens games on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
RDS will take it to the next level as they will broadcast 28 Habs games over the next 14 days. The matches will be presented in a condensed 60-minute format. The good news for Canadiens fans is that Montreal will win all 28 games. It’s a great way to get some positivity during the pandemic.
By Chris G., Senior Writer
All Habs Hockey Magazine
Copyright © 2019 Rocket Sports
Leave your comments below. I am looking forward to interacting with all of you. You can reach me on Twitter @ChrisHabs360 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org