Thursday would've been
the start of this year's hockey season. Instead, the lockout has reached 26
days, and still no hockey.
The NHL and Players
Association are expected to resume labor negotiations. But the first two weeks
of the regular season has already been canceled.
At this point, there's
no timetable for a hockey season. It could be weeks, even months, and some
teams are cutting costs by firing employees.
But not the Tampa Bay Lightning.
All of their employees
are still on board, and they're using their spare time to give back.
"It's called Our
Charge Program. And what that means is
we donate hours and hours of volunteerism to Tampa Bay and the Greater Tampa
Bay area," said Jamie Spencer of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Last year, this
volunteer program donated more than 4,400 hours. This year the plan is for even more.
Because of the lockout,
some employees have a lot of spare time on their hands.
"At a time like
this, we have increased our output.
We're doing a lot more than the norm," Spencer said. "And this is
something that we basically dedicated as Mr. Vinik's vision to do every year."
Despite some hockey
teams cutting costs, owner Jeff Vinik wants this program to move forward. Some
organizations are firing employees, reducing hours and pay. But the Lightning organization has stayed the
"It's hard for the people who work in
the front office. It's hard on the
fans," said Spencer. "Everyone
is feeling it, but on a day like today, you kind of forget about that and you
realize you're part of a community, and you're part of something bigger than
just the Lightning."
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