The ECHL and Professional Hockey Players’ Association announced the creation of a relief fund to assist players and their families enduring financial hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic, which cut the season short.
While players are still receiving health insurance through June 30, more than 600 players lost about three weeks of salary, not including the playoffs, and many players’ offseason jobs are in doubt.
Those wishing to contribute may do so at www.echl.com/covid19relieffund.
“The support already received from the hockey community has been very encouraging and will go a long way in helping the players,” PHPA executive director Larry Landon said. “There are many players who are married and have children and will need financial support, while others rely on supplemental income from teaching hockey schools during the off-season which have now effectively been cancelled. These players are positively ingrained within the communities in which they play, give back countless hours of their time to help advance community and charitable causes throughout the season, and now may need some assistance during these uncertain times.”
Directors from the ECHL and PHPA will ensure that funds are distributed to the players most in need.
“From the onset of the reality to determine to cancel the 2019-20 season, we knew that all parties would need to work together to get through this pandemic,” ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin said. “The creation of this fund is one of the next steps in coming together to help our players that are in the most need at this time.”
The PHPA’s executive committee approved an initial $200,000 contribution toward the fund, while the ECHL and sponsors are expected to host various auctions and make additional contributions in the coming weeks.
Former ECHL player Paul Bissonnette advocated for the campaign on a recent episode of the “Spittin Chiclets” podcast and that resulted in CaniBrands, a CBD products company, pledging $10,000 toward the fund.