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Coronavirus Impact On Hockey In Las Vegas

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(AP Photo/John Locher)

A sign at T-Mobile Arena advertises the cancellation of the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament amid coronavirus fears Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Las Vegas.

The Vegas Golden Knights were set to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs when the coronavirus outbreak caused the NHL to pause its season. 

That was quickly followed by the Pac-12 cancelling its basketball tournament.  

Those decisions left hundreds of T-Mobile workers – ushers, security guards and concession workers – out of work. 

Golden Knights’ employees, along with those working at the practice facility City National Area, have also been furloughed during the shutdown. 

"It took a little longer than the Golden Knights had hoped but they did announce that they will be pledging a minimum of $500,000 to pay for all hourly, on-call, part-time and full-time employees at that arena that would have been working their final four home games that they're missing," said Jesse Granger, the Vegas Golden Knight reporter for the Athletic

$100,000 of that money is coming straight from the pocket of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Granger said one of the reasons it took longer is because of the unique partnership between the Golden Knights and the companies that own T-Mobile Arena.

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He said some work for MGM Resorts, some work for the Knights, some work for AEG and others work for Levy Restaurants.

And while the whole situation is tough for everyone, Granger said there is a silver lining for Knights fans.

"I think they're a better team when they come out of this break than they were going in," he said, "Because you look at major, major players on this roster like Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Alex Tuch, Chandler Stephenson - were all out with injuries."  

He said if hockey comes back the Knights are in a good position for the playoffs.

The Knights are not the only hockey team that is impacted. UNLV has a club hockey team that was planning to go to the national finals when the virus outbreak hit the country.

"They were a top 20 team in the country," Granger said, "Expected to do pretty well in this tournament." 

The team was practicing for the tournament when they got word that the tournament was canceled. Unlike the NHL where players who didn't finish the season will just play next year, senior college players have lost their chance for one last tournament.

 

Guests

Jesse Granger, Vegas Golden Knights reporter, The Athletic

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