It’s important to pay close attention during times of crisis. People will show you exactly what they’re made of when the shit hits the fan. And right now, there are three kinds of people: the ones who show you their best in this time of need, the ones who show you their worst, and the ones who stay silent. Some of the silence may indeed be modesty, that they’re working behind the scenes to help. But often, it’s just those who aren’t going to do anything to help. Now is not the time for silence. If you can help, say so. If you need help, ask. We need to look after each other.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, one of the things the hockey world focused on was how the teams were handling the numerous employees who suddenly found themselves without work. Some teams stepped up right away. The Canucks did a great job of making sure their people are covered for the rest of the postponed season (not to mention a huge food giveaway to local organizations of perishables that would have been used at games and events). Some needed to be publicly shamed (the Calgary Flames, who withstood a barrage of well-deserved online abuse for their refusal to pay their employees) in order to get them to do the right thing. Yesterday the Boston Bruins, owned by real life cartoon supervillain Jeremy Jacobs announced a compensation package for their workers after Bruins players drew attention to the situation by asking people to help a GoFundMe set up to help arena staff. And in true supervillain style, there’s a catch.
I’m no lawyer, but this reads to me that #NHLBruins only plan to take care of part-time staff IF remaining 6 games are canceled, which they have not been yet. As if being the last #NHL team to step up wasn’t embarrassing enough... There is no “complexity” in treating people right https://t.co/UUoWJ57qdC— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 21, 2020
So that’s everyone, right? Nope.
Enter the Buffalo Sabres. Terry & Kim Pegula, the billionaire owners of the Sabres made their own announcement yesterday, and holy shit these people are the absolute worst:
#BREAKING; Pegula Sports and Entertainment lays off all hospitality workers at HarborCenter, 716 Food and Sport, Tim Horton's at HarborCenter, The Healthy Scratch and The Draft Room. #COVID19 @SPECNewsBuffalo— John Borsa (@JohnBorsa) March 20, 2020
For a long time we've wondered what was so rotten about the Sabres that they've been awful for a decade. Well, if there was any doubt as to why, we've found the source of the rot and it's the owners.— Hannah (@hburrito92) March 20, 2020
(most of us knew this already, but seeing this makes me feel sick) https://t.co/LB8EDuMfu0
Yeah, so that means all those who even had medical (and given the part-time nature of this line of work it’s unlikely) are now without coverage in one of the worst places in the world to get sick, as a world-wide pandemic is happening. There simply aren’t words I can use here to convey my disgust with them.
And as long as we’re talking about disgust, let’s talk about the Athletic. The firewalled service, which has been growing subscribers annually has announced that they’re laying off all their freelance writers.
News: The Athletic is temporarily pausing freelance contributors whose work relies on covering live sports. https://t.co/88GDEyfUVp— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) March 20, 2020
This, despite the fact that the company no longer has to spend money sending its writers around North America for coverage, and that they continue to take people’s money for subscriptions. Anything you do to impact a person’s financial situation right now is cruel, and especially when there appears to be no real reason for this action. And there’s been tweets circulating that some of the freelancers found out through Twitter. You know who would have been furious with this? Jason Botchford. Anyway, my thoughts are with all those guys and gals, and all of the employees screwed over by the Pegulas.
Let’s get into the positive side of things, alright?
Here’s a message from Tyler Motte, who continues to just be an incredible ambassador for the Hockey Talks initiative:
Yesterday was the anniversary of a couple huge moments in Canucks history:
On this day in Canucks history: March 20, 1982. During a game in Quebec, there is an altercation between Canuck players and fans at the game. Head coach Harry Neale is later suspended for getting involved. Harry out, Roger in. And the rest is, as they say, history... #Canucks pic.twitter.com/cx8IpeuaGO— Vintage Canucks (@VintageCanucks) March 20, 2020