NHL players will be paid during league shutdown

NHL players will rightfully still be paid their final three cheques of the 2019-20 season, despite the league shutting down the current campaign indefinitely, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The final three players cheques of the season were slated to be paid March 13 [today], March 30 and April 15. Johnston also noted, however, that players will be hit hard in the wallet via escrow withholdings due to the lack of hockey-related revenue being brought in by the league while it is suspended.

According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, it wasn’t a guarantee that players would be paid in the event of a league stoppage like the one that was just implemented. The CBA as it is written currently grants owners the power to negotiate different salary figures for players in the event that the league suspends operations because of a “state of war or other cause beyond the control of the league or of the club.”

“The salary listed in their standard player contract (SPC) ‘shall be replaced by that mutually agreed upon between the Club and the Player, or, in the absence of mutual agreement, by that determined by neutral arbitration’ if there is a reduction in operations, such as the regular season being truncated due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Wyshynski added.

This “Force Majeure” clause in the NHL’s CBA is very similar to the one that may result in reduced salaries for NBA players due to COVID-19.

As expected, more updates trickled in throughout the day and. evening on Friday, as players were asked to self-quarantine in the city their team is based and to avoid all travel.

TVA’s Renaud Lavoie tweeted shortly after on Friday that he believes, “in a week or so, players will have access to club facilities. After a few days, IF everything is going according to plan, a mini training camp will be schedule[d].”

“That scenario means that the league hope[s] that the season will resume at one point,” he added.

Players that are rehabbing injuries can continue to use their team’s facilities if necessary, but “alternative method is encouraged, including use of FaceTime or webinar with training staff,” TSN’s Frank Seravalli wrote.

“Team facilities are generally not to be made available. Players are encouraged to work out at home, not in a public gym, or exercise outdoors” while maintaining six feet of distance from others.

With it being announced that NHL players will be paid for the rest of the reason, Patrick Kane and many others have plenty of reason to celebrate. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

“Players are asked not to organized informal skates at public arenas, because sufficient time to resume skating and game preparation will be given,” Seravalli added.

Commissioner Gary Bettman, never short on optimism, said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday “I'm a little hesitant to use the word suspension, because our hope and our expectation is, when things get back to normal and it's safe and it's prudent, that we can go back and resume the season and ultimately have the Stanley Cup awarded.”

Based on everything we’re hearing, reading and seeing, Bettman’s forecast seems increasingly unrealistic as every hour passes. But nothing about any of this seems conventional in the slightest, so we’ll see where we’re at as the days pass.

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