‘Puck the Virus’ T-Shirts Helping CNY Beat the Coronavirus
The coronavirus is cutting a wide swath through many aspects of U.S. society. Organized sports is taking a big hit.
An article in Sunday’s New York Times estimated revenue losses in the sports world could be measured in the billions of dollars. Many team employees, including those who work at arenas, are not guaranteed to collect paychecks during the postponement or cancellation of games. Certain team owners, like Mark Cuban of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, have promised to keep those paychecks coming. Rob Esche, president of the American Hockey League's Utica Comets, has followed suit...at a heavy cost.
It's not as easy for Esche as it is for dotcom tycoons like Cuban. That's where sales of special "Puck the Virus" t-shirts may help. The slogan was the brainchild of Comets' announcer Joe Roberts. He and in-game host Alicia Daddario (pictured) are helping with sales of the shirts by posing in them and pushing them on social media. According to Daddario's Facebook page:
As the smallest market in the AHL, we don't have the luxury of a billionaire owner. It's all locally owned and operated. This hits home for ALL employees of the Utica Comets and our building. That’s why we’re selling the shirts.
There are about 50 full-time employees who work for the Comets (the minor league affiliate of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks), plus part-time ushers, ticket-takers and others who are adversely affected by the freeze.
Esche told the Utica Observer-Dispatch he's committed to his employees. "For seven years, the community has stuck by us and I think our team really embodies what our community is about. No matter what happens and wherever this takes us ... we're sticking by all of them."