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Lightning Round: PHPA and ECHL announce creation of a relief fund for ECHL players

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Ryan McDonagh participated in conference call with the media.

Fernando Medina/Orlando Solar Bears

The ECHL and Professional Hockey Players Association announced yesterday the creation of a relief fund to help ECHL players and their families during the unexpected cancellation of the 2019-20 ECHL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 12, following the path of several pro sports leagues around the world, the ECHL suspended the season due to the coronavirus threat. Three days later, the league decided to cancel the rest of the season, putting its players into a tough financial situation. Unlike the NHL and AHL players, ECHL players are paid on a weekly basis. They will still receive health insurance till June 30, but March 16 was the last payday of the season.

The PHPA Executive Committee has already approved an opening contribution of $200,000 to the fund and the ECHL and severals sponsors are expected to make their contributions in the next weeks.

Ken Campbell of the Hockey News wrote a detailed article, explaining the current situation in the ECHL yesterday.

Other Hockey News

Another edition of the 21 Days of 2021 NHL Draft Prospects series featured Francesco Pinelli, a player from the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. [Raw Charge]

When Pinelli wasn’t contributing offensively this season, he was still involved in plays. He is an excellent positional player, and will use his stick to cut off passes and force turnovers. His dedication to his defensive play was evident this season and as he gets stronger, he’ll only become more effective in his own end.

If the current COVID-19 pandemic has somehow affected your life, the Tampa Bay Lightning provided information on where you can find some help.

Diana C. Nearhos of the Tampa Bay Times reviewed the yesterday’s conference call with Ryan McDonagh in her latest article [Tampa Bay Times]

“There has to be a scenario where the season could be canceled,” McDonagh said. “It would be a huge disappointment. After what our team has done this year and how we set ourselves up, the additions we made, where we were with a handful of games left. You hope there’s a scenario, whether it’s regular season or playoffs, that we can play.”

Meanwhile, the first hockey team became a victim of COVID-19. Yesterday, the Russian team Admiral Vladivostok from the KHL announced that the regional government decided to stop providing financial help for the team for next season. At the same time, the main sponsor of the team is also expecting a financial crisis, which means the team won’t be able to participate in the 2020-21 season.

The Ottawa Senators reported that four more members of the organization, including three players and one staff member, have tested positive for COVID-19

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced signings of two their prospects, Filip Kral and Kristians Rubins, to entry level contracts.

Hockey writers from the Athletic have participated in survey to find out the best broadcast team in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s play-by-play announcer Rick Peckham and a color analyst Brian Engblom ranked 8th [The Athletic, paid content]

Bolts broadcasts fall into broadly the same category as Canucks, Islanders and Kings productions: they’re reasonably popular with fans leaguewide, but adored in their local markets. Some of that is attributable to the on-air talent, but almost uniquely among regional broadcasts, the technical aspects got broad praise from Lightning viewers.