The owners of the Boston Bruins and TD Garden announced Wednesday that 68 of their full-time, salaried employees are being placed on temporary leave in the wake of NHL's coronavirus-related shutdown.
Delaware North, owned by the Jacobs family, announced what they described as "temporary business stabilization measures" due to the impact of COVID-19 on their operations.
Effective April 1, the company said the 68 employees will be placed on leave, receiving one week of paid leave and eight weeks of full benefits. An additional 82 full-time salaried associates will receive an indefinite salary reduction.
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Chris Gasper, a sports columnist for the Boston Globe, calls the move "disappointing."
"Given the fact that, when you look at Jeremy Jacobs and what his net worth is, more than $3 billion, and the Bruins are the fifth most valuable team in the NHL, they're worth $1 billion," Gasper said. "He bought them in 1975 for $10 million, you would think after four and a half decades of being in the market and contributing to the city … he would be a little more understanding of the dire financial straights that some folks are going to be in."
"As relayed to our associated today, none of these decisions were reached without difficult and painful deliberations," Delaware North said in a statement. "These measures are intended to be temporary with associated employment and compensation returning once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage."
Delaware North has been criticized by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey for being the only NHL owners who weren't helping out their seasonal workers during the shutdown. She tweeted Wednesday night that it was "shameful."
"Everyone is stepping up, but the Jacobs family and Delaware North are not," she said.
"You look at what happened yesterday with the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, it's the same company that owns both of those teams, they had talked about reducing salary for people that made more than $50,000 a year by 20%, and it was made very clear on social media and other avenues that a lot of people found that unacceptable, so they backed down," Gasper said.
On Saturday, the Jacobs family announced that it had established a $1.5 million fund for Boston Bruins and TD Garden part-time associates affected by the coronavirus shutdown.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the suspension of the season on March 12, one day after the NBA suspended play when one of its players tested positive for coronavirus. It is unclear when or if the season might resume.