ECHL players braving job loss due to COVID-19

Adirondack Thunder

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Many around the world are left without a paycheck in the wake of COVID19, including minor league athletes.

ECHL Thunder forward James Henry told News10 ABC, “with our team, we were pushing to make the playoffs and I think it’s just kind of deflating as a professional athlete to be told that you’re not playing anymore and also at the same time, like you said we’re unemployed.”

March 16th was nearly four weeks ago. The U.S surpassed 3,000 COVID19 cases and that’s when the Adirondack Thunder players received their last paycheck.

“We’re still kind of waiting to see what the Player’s Association has put together as far as how much money will be donated,” Henry added.

He said when, and if the Professional Hockey Player’s Association can provide the team with funds, it certainly won’t be the amount they are use to. “I know a lot of guys rely on that for summer rent and just overall earning money.” 

He mentioned, the good thing is that almost everyone on the team were able to head back to their home towns before things shut down. 

Though he’s happy everyone can be with family during this time, Head Coach Alex Loh was really hoping to end the season on a positive note. “Just disappointing obviously because you always feel like you deserve some sort of closure to your season so for it to just sort of happen randomly is a little strange.”

He said he’s taking the same measures now as he would towards the end of the season, using this down time to prepare his roster for next year, as job security is also on the forefront of players minds. 

“Ideally we hang on to a majority of the guys,” Loh added. “Certainly a handful or possibly more would move on to other teams.”

Henry said he’s already reached out to the Player’s Association, should something of this magnitude happens again in the future. “We’ve talked about making those adjustments for the future so the players aren’t left out to dry.”

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