It’s been a few days since the coronavirus fully took hold of the sports world, first forcing the suspension of the NBA season and leading other sports to follow suit. One of the heartening aspects through it all has been the way teams have stepped up to pledge that care will be given to the hourly gameday employees who staff events throughout the season.
In Boston, though? Not yet. Workers at TD Garden, home to the NHL’s Bruins and the NBA’s Celtics, have gotten no word about what to expect as the leagues go into what figures to be an extended hiatus.
With that in mind, Bruins veteran Brad Marchand directed fans on Twitter to a GoFundMe page that was set up by, “Gunnar, Lola, Meghan and Jon Larson,” to help the hourly workers who will be sidelined during the coronavirus crisis.
Garden, Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs Criticized
The page was set up on Saturday morning and within 10 hours, it had raised nearly $20,000 from 250 donors. The page’s goal is set at $250,000.
The introduction to the page reads:
“COVID-19 precautions have led to pauses in NHL, NBA and Garden event activity. Hundreds of loyal TD Garden workers will lose considerable and critical income during the suspension of events. Bruins and Celtics fans should step up and help these families fill the void caused by this terrible health crisis. We should come together as a community to demonstrate our strength, mutual loyalty and commitment.”
Thus far, the page’s top donors have come from accounts with the names of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask as well as teammates David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Joakim Nordstrom. Each gave $1,000, though there’s no way to verify from whom the donations came.
Jeremy Jacobs, who owns the Bruins through his company, Delaware North, which also runs the Garden, has long been criticized in Boston for a lack of generosity and the plight of the building’s hourly workers is an example.
As hockey analyst Jeff Veillette tweeted:
Help May Yet Come for Celtics, Bruins Employees
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced, almost immediately after the season was suspended on Wednesday, that the team would establish a program through which hourly workers could still get paid. Other NBA owners—in Atlanta, in Washington, in Los Angeles, in Philadelphia, in Sacramento—have followed suit. NHL teams like the Capitals, Ducks, Red Wings, Sharks, Lightning and Maple Leafs have also vowed to support workers.
Some star players, too, have announced support for hourly workers. Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will give $100,000 each to support arena employees. Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers also offered $100,000.
Help still could come to those TD Garden employees who have yet to hear from Jacobs. The Boston Herald inquired with the Bruins about what the team would be doing about gameday workers. A Bruins spokesman released a statement to the paper:
“Delaware North has operations in over 50 sports stadiums, ballparks and arenas throughout the world. The hardworking associates at each location, including TD Garden, are facing great challenges due to the impact of COVID-19 on the sports industry. Delaware North at its core is a family company and our top priority is to provide our associates, and their families, with the assurances they deserve during this difficult time.
“We are actively exploring support options and will have further information in the coming days.”