With the NHL lockout dragging on with no end in sight, a number of teams across the league are taking measures to ensure the financial viablity of the franchise while no hockey is being played. This has come in the form of layoffs, pay cuts and shortened work weeks that highlight the very real toll this work stoppage is having on those that desperately need income that is being lost.
Defending Big D has learned that the Dallas Stars held a meeting with team employees and staff this week, informing them that layoffs and/or paycuts are not expected to come in the foreseeable future. Team employees will continue to work on a four-day work week, however.
We have been told that ownership and those in the front office are focused on ensuring that the staff is as prepared as they can possibly be for when the lockout does end. The Stars are going to be fighting a big battle to try and recapture some of the momentum that had been building with the sale of the team and with free agency.
We have also learned staff have been told that executive-level employees have taken pay cuts to ensure layoffs are not needed for the general staff.
The Dallas Stars sales staff has been working hard during the lockout to maintain relationships with current and former season ticket holders; the Stars have been one of the franchises in the NHL who have been hurt most by the lockout and the franchise will have a lot of ground to make up if and when the season begins again.
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Wild announced they would cut their employees' hours to 32 per week, effectively cutting their salary by 20 percent. The Buffalo Sabres, on the other hand, recently said there are no imminent plans for either layoffs or paycuts despite the lingering labor problems.
Other teams that have already laid off employees because of the lockout include the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators. Others, like the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, sent paycuts down the pipe, and the the NHL cut its front-office employees' salaries by 20 percent.
Back in September, several teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals said there were no plans for either paycuts or layoffs during the lockout.
Erin Bolen contributed to this report.