Ottawa Senators among teams helping out workers during NHL season suspension

Helene Elliott
LA Times
An Ottawa Senators fan waves a team flag before a game against the Boston Bruins on March 10. <span class="copyright">(Jana Chytilova / Getty Images)</span>
An Ottawa Senators fan waves a team flag before a game against the Boston Bruins on March 10. (Jana Chytilova / Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators joined the ranks of NHL teams that have said they will help arena workers who were in danger of losing paychecks because of the NHL’s “pause” in play.

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who also owns the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Belleville Senators, personally pledged to pay part-time and hourly workers “the income they would have otherwise received during the suspension of play due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting state of emergency in Ontario [Canada],” the Senators said in a press release Tuesday.

Part-time Ottawa Senators arena staffers will be paid for shifts through April 4, the scheduled end of the NHL’s regular season. Melnyk will pay part-time employees of the minor-league team through April 11, the end of the AHL regular season and the first round of that league’s playoffs.

Many other NHL teams, including the Ducks and the Kings, have pledged to help arena workers who have suffered economic consequences from the suspension of play in the NHL.

In other hockey news:

— A spokesman for the NHL said that to his knowledge, no player or league staffer has tested positive for the coronavirus. A member of the Vancouver Canucks full-time office staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, the team announced Sunday night. However, the team said that person had no contact with players or hockey operations personnel.

— Separately, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Tuesday announced that all the remaining games of the 2019-20 schedule have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The regular season was scheduled to end March 21.

— Also, the International Ice Hockey Federation held a conference call among members of its council, representatives of teams scheduled to participate in this year’s men’s world championships, its marketing partner and its insurance broker but did not make a decision regarding the world championships, which are scheduled to be played May 8-24 in the Swiss cities of Zurich and Lausanne. The women’s world championships previously were canceled. They were scheduled to be played March 31 through April 10 in the Canadian cities of Halifax and Truro.

“Unfortunately, at this time no major decisions related to the status of 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship could be taken,” IIHF President Rene Fasel said in a statement. “The stakeholders openly discussed what has become a very complex situation with the coronavirus which is affecting many countries as well as participating teams and various other stakeholders of the World Championship.” The IIHF did cancel all committee meetings, camps and seminars before June 30.

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