What are players doing to cope with the massive impact on gaming from coronavirus?
Frank Seravalli: One of the options on the table is to forgo their last paycheck of the season, which arrives on April 15. This is the discussion that continues at the player and team level. Player representatives have brought their individual teams back to the canvas and find out exactly what they want to do. They could take all of that remaining paycheck and put it in the escrow fund, they can take part or none of it. What we’re taking is $ 140 million gross salary in that last paycheck and basically what it would do is move the escrow deduction for this season down 14% and the increasing to 16.5 or 17% as a total catch for the season and if the NHL does not come back and we are considering a 35% security deposit, the more you can accumulate would certainly help in terms of reimbursement to owners of the NHL. Time is running out, however, because this decision is due April 7 to decide what to do for that last paycheck.
Latest News from the Winnipeg Jets Defender Dustin Byfuglien?
Darren Dreger: It is coming to an end, but obviously, given the news, it is not top priority for all parties involved. What I do know is that the National Hockey League is expected to discuss the situation with the Winnipeg Jets in the very near future. Now the Players’ Association, the league, the player and the Winnipeg Jets are all aligned in the termination agreement, but it has not yet been executed and, as a result, the Winnipeg Jets are not unable to advertise. The detailed work between the league and the Winnipeg Jets is expected to be resolved in the near future.
What are the things under the radar that have [been] lost due to the NHL season suspension?
Bob McKenzie: Getting a team photo is not at the top of the priority list for those franchises that are currently in limbo due to coronavirus, but it’s interesting to hear the Columbus Blue Jackets on the last day they were together , March 11, they had planned as their day to take the photo of the team. So the Columbus Blue Jackets took their team photo, which made me think, what about the other National Hockey League teams? So I did a quick overview of the seven Canadian teams and discovered the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets just after the trade deadline took their team photo. The Montreal Canadiens got their [photo] on March 9, but the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators did not take a team photo. And if players no longer meet for a hockey game in 2019-20, teams are effectively without this commemorative photo of the team. But they could do what the Buffalo Sabers plan to do and that’s when they get their team together for the fall, they would take a picture of the team, take pictures of the new guys who weren’t in the 19-20 team and Photoshop back in the guys who were part of the 19-20 team. A small matter, but one that the teams are nevertheless examining.
Is Adam Fantilli still # 1 in the OHL draft this weekend despite his commitment to play in the USHL next season?
McKenzie: Well, it’s a fascinating discussion that not only the North Bay Battalion, but other OHL teams, have. Now North Bay has the No. 1 overall pick in the OHL draft and they’ve decided what to do next. But they have not yet made public this decision as to whether they will take Fantilli, which is clearly, and I mean clear, the No. 1 prospect for this year’s draft, but has already announced that it was going to Chicago from the USHL. He will postpone his decision on the Ontario Hockey League for up to a year. There were rumors in the OHL before Saturday’s draft that North Bay was actually going to take someone other than Fantilli. We will see if that happens. Then it’s up to each OHL team, including North Bay, I guess, to decide. Do they roll the dice and hope that a year from now, Adam Fantilli will enter the Ontario League and spend two years there before perhaps being the number one choice in the 2023 draft or pass it on, realizing he could spend the next two years with Chicago in the USHL and then in college hockey. Fascinating. We find out Saturday who rolls the dice.
Health Care for the NHL Alumni Association, NHL and NHLPA
Dreger: It could be more opportunities from the perspective of the NHL Alumni Association. When you look at health care for retired gamers, especially in the United States, they are ridiculously expensive. Over $ 36,000 per year for former players and their families. Now the NHL alumni are hoping that today’s player, the current National Hockey League player, will benefit because at some point in his future he will be the ex-player, so why do not include lifelong health care now for the player and their families for the rest of their lives in the current collective agreement. It’s part of the expansion, whether or not he becomes a main pawn in the NHL and Players’ Association negotiations has not yet been seen, but the elders would like the current player to move him forward.
What do players do to stay busy?
Seravalli: Some of them, believe it or not, are hitting the books and are taking advantage of some of the opportunities they have in part through the NHLPA athlete development program where they are put in place with a consultant who finds ways to pursue college credits or maybe go out and get a certificate. I was talking to Michael Del Zotto Anaheim Ducks, he’s a guy who really takes this opportunity. He said he was learning Italian, that he was taking an online marketing course right now to help with the brand identity and strategy. So he hopes to finish this at some point during this break and they hope that other NHL players will also choose to step up that period and use their time wisely to help potentially prepare for the life after hockey every time it comes.