Following fans’ rage and player donations, Calgary Flames reverse decision not to pay employees

Following the shutdown of the NHL due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, the ownership groups of the NHL have had different approaches on how to pay or not to pay their employees.

Several NHL teams have committed to pay their employees. Some through march and some all the way until events go on as usual.

At the same time, all NHL players will get their final three scheduled paychecks despite the season being suspended for the coronavirus, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daily said Friday.

While some owners groups are committed to pay employees at the arenas, some have chosen not to. Ownership structures could make things complicated at some arenas due to the fact that all stadiums aren’t owned by the organisation that plays at the event.

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The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (CSEC), which owns the Flames, the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks, said in an email ot its hourly and event stuff Friday that they would not be paid for cancelled shifts during the stoppage.

“CSEC will pay employees where the notification of cancellation was less than 24 hours. No payment will be made for shifts cancelled with greater than 24 hours’ notice.” stated the email according to the Calgary Sun.

The CSEC were heavily criticized after the decision, trending on social media Friday. A GoFundMe page was set up as an employee Fund for the Flames hourly staff and several players decided to pitch in.

Milan Lucic pledge $5,000 and the amount was matched by Sam Bennet and Mark Giordano, Mikael Backlund, Travis Hamonic, Noah Hanifin, Mark Jankowski, David Rittich and Matthew Tkachuk.

A GoFundMe contributor can add any name he or she wants when pledging money. But since Lucic and Tkachuk among other players shared the link to the GoFundMe page, it’s pretty safe to assume that they were the ones donating.

Following the backlash, the Flames now have decided to pay their employees. Sunday, they announced a compensation program for part-time workers.

The NHL organization are setting up a bridge payment program for their hourly and event staff. They will nog be eligible to receive employment insurance benefits. They will receive a top up payment from CSEC, which will provide an overall benefit of up to 95 percent of their regular average earnings.

For the employees not eligible ro receive employment insurance due to not working sufficient hours will receive the equivalent CSEC top-up payment.

“It has been a very challenging week for all of us. We appreciate your support and understanding as further events unfold,” wrote John Bean, the president and CEO of CSEC, in an email to staff according to the Calgary Sun. “We may not get everything right, out of the gate, but we can assure you that we will continue to work hard to do what is right for all of our Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation family.”