Despite lockout, Lightning not cutting employees - FOX 13 News

Despite lockout, Lightning not cutting employees

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

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 same. 

"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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