NHL staff facing reduced work weeks during lockout

The NHL lockout is only a few days old but its effects are already being felt around the league.

TORONTO — The NHL lockout is only a few days old but its effects are already being felt around the league.

With a number of big-name players continuing to head for Europe, NHL employees were informed Wednesday that their salaries are scheduled to be cut 20 per cent across the board. That will come into effect on Oct. 1, when full-time staff are reduced to a four-day work week.

The news was delivered by commissioner Gary Bettman during a Wednesday morning staff meeting.

The NHL also announced the cancellation of pre-season games through Sept. 30, as well as the postponement of the Kraft Hockeyville pre-season game scheduled for Oct. 3 in Belleville, Ont., to the 2013-14 season.

Unlike in September 2004, when more than 50 per cent of NHL employees were laid off just days into the lockout, the league is trying to avoid cutting staff.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press over the weekend that there were no immediate plans for layoffs, although multiple sources who attended Wednesday’s meeting said employees were warned that further cuts could be coming in the future.

A number of teams, including the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers, announced layoffs earlier this week. The Senators also placed their remaining staff on a reduced work schedule.

“Every full-time, every part-time employee is affected by a work stoppage,” team president Cyril Leeder said Monday.

Bettman and Daly both decided to forgo their salary during the lockout, according to sources. Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, hasn’t been paid since the beginning of July.

As the lockout moved into its fourth day, there were still no formal bargaining sessions scheduled between the league and NHLPA. The sides last sat down together on Sept. 12.

With it becoming clear NHL training camps won’t open as scheduled on Friday, players continued to seek work overseas.

On Wednesday, Jason Spezza signed a deal with Rapperswil-Jona in Switzerland, Anze Kopitar agreed to join brother Gasper with Mora in Sweden and Russian stars Alex Ovechkin (Moscow Dynamo) and Pavel Datsyuk (CSKA Moscow) each returned home to play in the KHL.

Rick Nash also arrived in Switzerland, where he’ll again play alongside Joe Thornton with HC Davos, and said that he believes the lockout could last the entire season — just as it did in 2004-05.

“It doesn’t look positive,” Nash told newspaper Sudostschweiz. “It could be a season-long break.”

Even though that remains a long way off, frustration is clearly mounting. Buffalo Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth became the latest player to take to Twitter and blame Bettman for another NHL work stoppage, the fourth in two decades.

“So sick of this lockout. Playing in the NHL (has) been a life long dream and now we can’t bc GB (wants) more money from us? imlosingtime,” Enroth wrote Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Montreal owner Geoff Molson said he remains confident a settlement can be reached quickly.

“It is our priority and we hope that an agreement will be concluded soon so that fans can enjoy our new team,” Molson told reporters Wednesday at the Canadiens’ charity golf tournement.

Molson added that he has unwavering support in Gary Bettman and that the league’s owners are firmly behind him.

NHL owners are subject to a $1-million fine for speaking out of line about the lockout.

“For the league to be healthy, for the economic system to be good for all teams, there must be adjustments, as Gary mentioned,” Molson said. “The 30 owners are standing together and are united and they support Gary’s approach.”

Just Posted

Last-minute entry: Jason Kenney will be part of Wednesday’s Westerner Days parade

Premier Jason Kenney is a late addition to Wednesday morning’s Westerner Days… Continue reading

Two men arrested on drug charges in Blackfalds

Blackfalds RCMP say they expect to lay more charges after two men… Continue reading

Edmonton-Red Deer-Calgary bullet train waiting for provincial blessing

A high-speed train project between Edmonton and Calgary, proposed in April 2018,… Continue reading

Home selling and building markets reflecting a tough economy, but hope in sight

Real estate sales and new home builds still lagging 2018

Former Sylvan Lake bank employee sentenced to three years in prison for $1M fraud

Red Deer woman was ordered to pay nearly $830,000 in restitution

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Hernandez, Gurriel lead Blue Jays to 10-4 win over Red Sox

Blue Jays 10 Red Sox 4 BOSTON — Teoscar Hernandez hit a… Continue reading

New head coach Nick Nurse preparing Canada for long FIBA World Cup run

TORONTO — Nick Nurse is going to prepare Canada’s men’s basketball team… Continue reading

Court of Appeal dismisses Paradise Shores arguments

A court will not hear arguments; sticks with appeal board’s ruling

Schitt’s Creek’ and its stars among Canadians with Emmy nominations

TORONTO — Eugene Levy thought the highlight of his Tuesday would be… Continue reading

Singh sees Quebec as ‘fertile ground’ for NDP as he hits province for tour

OTTAWA — The province of Quebec offers the federal New Democrats fertile… Continue reading

Airline confirms three dead after float plane crashes in Labrador lake

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Four occupants of a downed float plane remained… Continue reading

New developments in text-messaging controversy involving Manitoba chief

WINNIPEG — The women’s council of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says… Continue reading

N.S. minister holds off comment on wrongful conviction case due to past as Mountie

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s justice minister — a retired Mountie — says… Continue reading

Most Read