With the coronavirus pandemic stopping sports around the world, the Montreal Canadiens have made a tough decision that many more clubs may be forced to follow in the coming weeks.
The NHL outfit announced on Wednesday (NZT) they would proceed with a "temporary reduction" in staff, with 60 per cent on the club's employees to be impacted by the decision which will take effect at the end of the month.
The club released a statement confirmed the reduction in personnel, which said the decision was necessary given the significant impact the pandemic has had on the sports and entertainment industries.
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"Now more than ever, it is important to support our community and demonstrate our solidarity to one another. We are working extremely hard to limit the impact this situation will have on our employees. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our employees for their understanding and patience. During difficult times like these, our commitment to one another will help us rebound faster," Groupe CH owner, president, and chief executive Geoff Molson said.
Groupe CH, which owns the Canadiens, has established a $6m assistance fund which will help enhance employment insurance benefits for a period of eight weeks, ensuring that employees will receive 80 per cent of their base salary during this period.
The announcement was shortly followed by reports the NHL planned to temporarily reduce salaries of league employees by 25 per cent.
ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported salaries would be reduced across the league at the start of April, with the league hopeful reduced salaries would prevent job losses during this uncertain time.
The NHL has been suspended since March 12 at which point the regular season had just over three weeks remaining and 189 games left to play.
There have been two players test positive for coronavirus in the NHL, both within the Ottawa Senators organisation. Elsewhere in American sports, the NBA has had several cases including all-stars Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz) and Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets).
The NBA season was officially suspended on March 11, with players and owners around the league reaching into their own pockets to help the financial situations of arena game-day staff who were left without work once the season went on hiatus.
Among them, Gobert - the first NBA player to test positive for the virus - donated $500,000 to part-time arena staff in Utah, multiple-time all-star Blake Griffin donated $100,000 to workers at the Detroit Pistons' home at Little Cesar's Arena, while rookie New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson pledged to cover the salaries of employees at New Orleans' Smoothie King Arena for a month.