The COVID-19 virus wreaked havoc on the world of sports last week, forcing organizations from the highest professional levels to your rec beer league to shutter operations.
That decision has had ripples through the many professional sports teams affected, from the highest levels of ownership down to the staff that work games on a part-time basis.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the first voices to pledge that his club would be paying hourly arena workers during the National Basketball Association’s stoppage.
Numerous ownership groups followed Cuban’s lead, from teams like the San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL, among many others.
Some players even jumped in, with the Florida Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky pledging $100,000 to help pay BB&T Center employees.
Notably, teams like the Winnipeg Jets and the Calgary Flames announced that they wouldn’t be paying arena employees for scheduled work that would not occur.
(Just gonna leave this here.)
The Vancouver Canucks? Well, the team was certainly closer to Cuban’s model than they were to the Jets and Flames, but their statement wasn’t completely free of ambiguity.
Call us cynical, but “individual need” sounds pretty subjective, and it’s a big break from what other organizations are calling for.
Yes, it’s of course positive that the Canucks are promising to do something for their employees that find themselves out of work. But what exactly does that look like? Will people have to send in applications? Will the Canucks arbitrarily judge whether someone really “needs” support?
One has to think that these jobs represent a decently large portion of the employee’s earnings during the hockey season and is something they rely on to pay the bills.
So while one can’t lump in the Canucks with the Jets and the Flames, hopefully things are being take care of behind the scenes in a responsible manner.
Follow @ncaddell on Twitter