The Pittsburgh Penguins are off the ice due to the coronavirus and now a number of team employees face furloughs amid the pandemic. Penguins CEO David Morehouse revealed that an undisclosed number of employees will be furloughed for four months beginning June 1. Morehouse and other executives will also be taking pay cuts as the team weathers the crisis.
“With the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its growing impact on our business, I have made the very painful decision to reduce our operations to help us weather this unprecedented health and financial crisis,” Morehouse said in a statement. “These decisions are extremely difficult, but they are necessary for us to endure this crisis, and to be able to resume our position as one of the best teams in sports whenever hockey returns. My hope is that hockey will resume in the relatively near future, and that we will be back operating with an increased staff.”
Impacted employees will be eligible for unemployment and stimulus benefits throughout the four-month furlough period. During this time they will retain their full health benefits from the team, which has kept all employees paid since the NHL season was suspended on March 12.
The Penguins have created an employee assistance fund to aid those facing hardships amid the pandemic and will see their top team executives reduce their salary as a result. Morehouse will forgo 50 percent of his annual salary while coaches and other senior executives have agreed to a 25 percent salary reduction.
The NHL is exploring options and locations for resuming the 2019-20 season for broadcast only. Those who had tickets for any of the impacted Penguins home games can receive credit to apply to a future purchase or request a refund.