OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators have already begun to feel the effects of the NHL lockout.
Senators president Cyril Leeder met with members of the Ottawa media Monday afternoon, saying layoffs have taken place and full-time staff have been placed on a reduced work week.
“Every full-time, every part-time employee is affected by a work stoppage,” Leeder said. “On the full-time employees they’ve either been laid off temporarily or gone to a four-day work week.”
Leeder wouldn’t say exactly how many people have been laid off, but that “it was a significant number” and “more than ten.” The Senators have 170 full-time employees.
“This really is the area that I worry about the most,” Leeder said. “It’s not good for anybody when we have a work stoppage and the people most affected are our staff here.”
One employee who will continue to earn a paycheque, somewhat ironically, is Milan Michalek. A source confirmed to The Canadian Press on Monday that the injured forward will continue to be paid and will have access to the team’s facilities until he is cleared to play. Michalek is scheduled to make US$4,750,000 this season.
Michalek underwent surgery last Tuesday in Philadelphia to repair a torn abdominal muscle he suffered while training in late August. Michalek is expected to be sidelined four-to-six weeks.
Off the ice, local charities are going to be feeling the side effects of the lockout, but Leeder says the organization is committed to upholding any previous commitments.
The Senators were forced to cancel the 2012 Bell Sens Charity Golf Classic, which was to take place Monday and Tuesday, and once games are cancelled revenues from the 50/50 draw will be lost.
Over the past 20 years the Sens Foundation has given back nearly $70 million in support of various community initiatives.
Leeder knows that many charities rely on funds from the Sens Foundation to implement its programs and has no intention of having them suffer due to the work stoppage.
While players were often the main draw in charitable endeavours, the organization will now need to be a little more creative with its fundraisers. Coach Paul MacLean may also see an increased role in his participation in events.
“We’ve got to work harder to raise money,” Leeder said. “The community has come to rely on the Ottawa Senators as an important contributor back to the community. We’re not going to walk away from those responsibilities.”
One of the Sens Foundations biggest recipients remains Roger’s House, a pediatric respite and palliative care home, that receives nearly one million on a yearly basis and Leeder says Roger’s House has been told “in no uncertain terms that they don’t need to worry, that we will make good on that commitment.”
Season ticket holders will have the option of a full refund or leaving the money with the organization at a five-per-cent interest rate should games get cancelled.
Leeder admitted fans have voiced their displeasure and are angry with both sides and want to see a resolution as soon as possible. Despite the labour dispute the team remains pleased with its season ticket sales and “are ahead of where we were last year.”
Leeder says the organization is working hard to ensure it’s ready to resume operations once the lockout comes to an end.