Vancouver Canucks staff face 20-per-cent cut in work week, paycheque should NHL lockout kick in
Notebook: Coaches 'ready to go' for training camp … but will they have players?
Vancouver Canucks Dale Weise, Jannik Hansen, Maxim Lapierre and Kevin Bieksa (left to right) at the Jake Milford Charity Invitational on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 at Northview Golf Course in Surrey.
Photograph by: Ric Ernst, PNG
METRO VANCOUVER — If the NHL lockout is triggered as expected Saturday, the Vancouver Canucks have a plan for their office staff and that involves working less, and making less as well.
Employees will be reduced to a four-day week and take a corresponding 20-per-cent pay cut.
“First of all, we've been hopeful that things will get resolved but as we get closer to Sept. 15, we've got a number of contingency plans in place,” Canucks COO Victor de Bonis explained Wednesday before teeing off in the team's 29th annual Jake Milford Charity golf tournament in Surrey. “From a staffing perspective, we have really genuine people working for our company and they understand the situation. So if there is a work stoppage, we'll be going to a four-day week starting next week.
“Everybody is really doing their part to support the situation. Everybody is chipping in through the period here until we get a new agreement. We hope it comes to a conclusion as soon as possible.”
During the 2004-05 lost season, Canucks employees took a 20-per-cent pay cut until the season was officially cancelled. Then it became a 30-per-cent reduction.
De Bonis said the team will continue to be “very active” with their charitable endeavours throughout any work stoppage. He also noted the Canucks’ fan base has remained patient, for the most part, throughout all the lockout talk.
“They understand the process,” de Bonis added. “There have been the odd calls from season-ticket holders but, generally, everyone has been very patient. We'll be communicating with them in the next day or so about what will happen if there is a work stoppage.”
COACHES CORNERED? The Canucks’ coaches are ready for training camp. Now all they need is players. Camp is scheduled to begin Sept. 21, but the looming lockout might put an end to their beautifully designed practice plans. Or to at least some of their plans.
Head coach Alain Vigneault didn't want to go there Wednesday.
“I am optimistic we're going to play hockey so, for me, it's business as usual,” stated Coach Vee. “Everything is ready to go. I haven't given any thought to do what I might do if we don't start on time because I am optimistic we're starting on the 21st.”
Asked if he felt he was the most optimistic person on planet Earth, Vigneault cheerfully replied: “Yes, I am.”
Meanwhile, associate coach Rick Bowness does have a plan if the lockout does come down Saturday. So what will he do?
“Not very much, honestly,” he said. “At this point, I'll probably head back to Phoenix and spend some time there until we get playing. My daughter is living and working there and we have a home down there so we’ll probably just go down there and sit it out.”
The coaching staff spent five days in August planning a full camp and mapping out the travel schedule. According to Bowness, it will be simple to adjust on the fly.
“First of all, we'll wait and see what we have,” he said. “We've got the main camp set up so all our drills are ready to go and if we have to shorten it up, then we'll shorten it up. That's easy to do. Let's put it this way, whenever we start, we'll be ready to go.”
BURR IN SADDLE: Canucks winger Alex Burrows is heading into the final season — assuming there is a season — of his bargain-basement contract and has been eligible to sign an extension since July 1. So far, nothing. He is scheduled to make $2 million in 2012-13.
“I've always said that I like Vancouver and that I'd love to stay here,” said the 31-year-old from Montreal. “I think we have a really strong team going into this season and this is an organization that wants to win, and that's all they want. So, hopefully, we can maybe get something done (soon). If not, I still have a year left and we'll see what happens, But it would be nice to stay in Vancouver.”
Based on the going rate for a 25-30 goal scorer, Burrows is in line for a significant bump. He said he will probably head back home if the lockout is triggered.
“I'll feel it out there for a couple of weeks,” he said. “I am preparing as if camp will start Sept. 21. That's all I'm thinking about now. Hopefully there will be a season and that's what we want. But if we are locked out, there are a lot of people in Quebec and the Montreal area working out and skating, so I'll be fine.”
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