With the current NHL lockout steam rolling into it’s third month, the Minnesota Wild made some cost-saving measures this week when the team announced they had reduced all staff salaries by 20% in the form of cutting the work-week back to 32 hours. The near 200 employees were informed of the decision on Tuesday at a staff meeting according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.
There was some good news that came from the meeting however. Russo reports that there will be no lay-offs as of yet with the hope that the NHL will resume playing in the near future. The other positive for the Wild employees is that the cut in salary won’t take effect until after Christmas, sparing those that need the extra revenue for the holiday season.
As the lockout rolls on it’s becoming increasingly clear who the true people who are suffering from this work stoppage, and it isn’t the owners or the players. Rather it is the employees of the clubs who rely on their five-digit salary to provide for their families.
While some NHL player’s are overseas collecting a paycheck, albeit a minuscule one compared to their NHL salaries, back home good, hard-working people are forced to make adjustments to their lives because the two sides are $182 million dollars apart in a new CBA deal (this just one of the three main issues that currently resides in the negotiations).
Russo goes on to explain further how the full-time employees aren’t the only staff relying on the Wild’s home games. He states that over 500 part-time staff look forward to the 44-scheduled home games that the Wild were set to play this year at the Xcel Energy Center. Everyone from security guards to parking attendants to concession workers, it’s those people that make the games run so smoothly that are currently without that extra paycheck every month and it’s not fair.
These people didn’t ask to have the work stoppage, the third one in the last twenty years since Gary Bettman took over commissioner. And what do they get for their loyalty towards the NHL? Nothing, literally.
Russo also reports that every home game the Wild host, they bring in an average of $1.1 million per game. Considering we are now looking at a 40-50 regular season schedule as a best case scenario, it’s safe to say the Wild are looking at roughly $20 million in lost revenue. That’s a lot of money to any hockey club.
The next time you hear an update on how well a player is doing playing in Europe or how much money the owners or players are losing, think of the dark, lonely rinks across the NHL and the staff that are waiting eagerly so they too can get back to work. Get back to work making a fraction of what the average NHL player makes. It’s just not right that these are the people that are suffering the most from the lockout and there is nothing they can do to fix it.
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