NHL players have been told they will receive their remaining three paycheques for the 2019-20 season, according to Sportsnet‘s Chris Johnston.
Those payments — which are scheduled for March 13, March 30 and April 15 — were not guaranteed when the season was officially put on hold this week.
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, NHL owners are given the ability to negotiate different salaries for players if the league “suspends, ceases or reduces operations” due to a “state of war or other cause beyond the control of the league or the club.”
On Thursday, the NHL paused its season — joining the NBA, MLS and MLB in putting their seasons on hold in an effort to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
“We had, throughout the last few weeks, been constantly analyzing what was evolving, what the situation was, and what our responses need to be, and what all the possible contingencies could be,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday. “We were exploring whether or not it was going to reach a point in time we needed to completely shut down, whether or not we needed to take a break, or how we would continue to play — whether it was in all empty buildings relative to fans, or in part-empty buildings, depending on what local jurisdictions were doing.”
When Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, spurring an immediate hiatus from the NBA, the NHL felt it was best to follow suit and get ahead of a similar situation occurring in the hockey world.
With the 2019-20 campaign now on hiatus and a timeline for return to play yet to be determined, the league is constantly evaluating how to best approach the ever-changing situation.
“We have an internal task force that has been meeting two times a day, in the morning and afternoon, and we are exploring every contingency. We’re looking out in (the) calendar to see, ‘Well, what’s the last day we could be playing under other scenarios?’ and then backing it up. And then what are our options in the timeframe that’s available?” Bettman told Sportsnet 590 earlier Friday.
“… my hope and expectation is that we can finish the season in some form, award the Stanley Cup, and then be able to move on knowing that we accomplished that goal of finishing the season for our fans.”