With everyone panicking over COVID-19, you know you've goofed up when it seems all people can tweet about are your financial decisions. The Calgary Flames came under fire after telling part-timers they won't be paid for the suspended season. Now, fans are picking up the slack and even Flames players are donating money to the staff.
After novel coronavirus had the whole 2019-2020 NHL season officially suspended, it seemed the hockey world finally cooled down.
But when the Flames said they won't pay their 1,500 hourly and events staff for all the lost hours, the fire was rekindled.
Flames fan Raymond Lau stepped forward to help unpaid staff with a GoFundMe fundraiser starting Saturday, March 14.
"100% of the proceeds will be donated to CSEC hourly and part time employees. I have contacts within the Flames organization and will find a fair way to distribute the funds," wrote Lau on the page.
The fundraiser aimed for $10,000 at first. But with a little help from a few hockey stars, it's now sitting at over $46,000.
Flames captain Mark Giordano and his wife gave $5,000 each. His donation was matched by teammates Milan Lucic, Sam Benette, and TJ Brodie's wife, Amber Brodie.
Sean Monahan threw in $4,000, and Zac Rinaldo helped with $2,000.
That's a total $31,000 of the roughly $46,000.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment (CSEC), who owns the Flames, sent all its hourly employees an email on Thursday, March 12, saying their pay is getting cut.
A few days later on Sunday, March 15, the Flames told Narcity they've just sent "new information" to their part-time employees and will be announcing it on social media as soon as their staff get to review it.
It's not clear what this new information could detail, but if CSEC decides to upend their previous decision, then Lau's fundraised money will go to the Flames Foundation, local charities, or still to the staff.
@27MilanLucic Good of you players to step up, Looch. Unfortunate you guys have to be the ones to do it.— McOilers 🍁 (@McOilers 🍁) 1584249856.0
The online backlash might've changed their minds, because days after their first decision, #shametheflames was trending on Twitter.
Angry Twitter users pointed out that the Flames asked for $600 million to build a new stadium, but now can't afford to pay their staff.
What's going through the minds of the leadership of @NHLFlames now? Is it: 1. Assuming people will forget, so they… https://t.co/hOAOk5PkkN— Richard Einarson 🇨🇦 🏳️🌈 (@Richard Einarson 🇨🇦 🏳️🌈) 1584289928.0
But while Flames staff lost their incomes, part-time workers at the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Canucks were much luckier.
According to the Canadian Press, the Oilers will compensate their workers, coupled with their insurance benefits, to get them their average earnings for the rest of the season.
The #Flames ownership won’t step up and do the right thing, but amazing to see the players are. Sean Monahan, Milan… https://t.co/XIwVIz54jP— Jesse Modz (@Jesse Modz) 1584284297.0
"The pause of NHL hockey, concerts and events at Rogers Place has hit everyone hard," said Oilers Entertainment Group president Tom Anselmi, "but it has created an even more difficult situation for our nearly 1,650 part-time staff."
Narcity reached Lau for comment. This article will be updated when we hear back.