The Arizona Coyotes said Monday that owner Alex Meruelo and Gila River Arena have partnered to pay employees affected by the suspension of NHL games due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A press release said the team and arena will “support the arena’s part-time and hourly employees previously scheduled to work” the remaining home games, “support all club part-time and hourly employees” and “pay all Tucson Roadrunners part-time employees.”
It wasn’t immediately clear to what extent the employees will have their lost income reimbursed, but a team spokesperson told Arizona Sports that the support for the missed games would be significant. The Coyotes had eight games remaining among 12 total in their regular season before the NHL paused its season on Thursday because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not clear when the season will resume, or if the rest of the regular season will even be played. The Centers for Disease Control on Sunday recommended the cancellation or postponement of gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.
“We pride ourselves on treating all our staff and players like they are part of our family,” Meruelo said in a statement. “I value my team members and am committed to making sure that everyone remains safe, secure and part of our great team.
“We are going through a difficult time right now and how we respond to this challenge will define us. Through our resiliency and our ongoing commitment to our team members, we will emerge from this challenge stronger and more unified.”
The statement said Meruelo is committed to the Valley community and is working to identify support and service opportunities throughout Arizona.
“We value all of our employees as they are the heart and soul of this venue,” Gila River Arena GM Dale Adams said in a statement. “They are committed to delivering amazing guest experiences to our fans and we are equally committed to them.”