Morning Free Association: Still Waiting

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It isn’t just players, the owners, and other official NHL entities that are waiting for the next NHL season to start. While we know that in-person attendance will likely not be a viable option for most arenas throughout the NHL, leaving hundreds if not thousands of game-day employees without jobs for the time being, other people associated with broadcasts of games have also been scrambling for employment opportunities.

Fluto Shinzawa wrote about this in The Athletic. Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, and rinkside reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz all have full-time contracts with NESN meaning that they’re paid as long as there’s a season, even if the games aren’t played. Jurkzstowicz has taken on additional duties as a part-time host of NESN After Hours while the NHL season is being hashed out. One part of the Bruins broadcast team that is at the mercy of games being played is studio analyst Billy Jaffe. He is considered an independent contractor just like his gig for NHL Network. So when there are no games, there is no money coming in. To offset this, he took a job with the Eastern Hockey Federation, which oversees youth hockey teams. But the job he truly loves is talking hockey.

“I love breaking down a great play in a big game and being able to translate that to the audience. That’s what I love,” Jaffe said. “I love talking about hockey, bringing information to light and sharing it with people in a way they can understand, agree or disagree. That’s what I just love to do. I love to talk hockey anywhere they’ll let me do it and share what I know about it.”

Jaffe is used to making various appearances between NESN and NHL, calling college hockey games, and the conducting adult hockey camps at Warrior Arena during the summer months. Due to the pandemic, he roughly estimates he’s lost thousands of dollars. Still, even with this economic uncertainty, he’s not ready to give it up just yet.

“From when hockey went down to now, I’ve lost thousands and thousands of dollars,” Jaffe said. “It’s been a significant amount. I can’t even tell you. I try not to put pen to paper to understand the percentage of income I’ve lost. For me, I’ve lost a significant amount of money. March through May are my most profitable months, hands down.”

“I desperately still want to do the business. Absolutely,” Jaffe said. “I’m willing to give it a little bit of time. But how much time can I give it? That’s the question. I don’t want to stop broadcasting hockey and talking hockey. I hope I eventually don’t have to make the decision to do something else. But I’m not ignorant to the fact that things are changing and continue to change. I may have no choice.”

Even colleague Jack Edwards acknowledged that he is in a good place when compared to others behind the scenes who put on the show each night.

“There’s a lot of people who make the vast majority of their livings by working games — photographers, audio technicians, replay techs,” Edwards said. “The truck is a very, very busy place. All those seats are empty night after night. A lot of paychecks aren’t coming in. There’s very little safety net for those people. A lot of our friends have been in that position since the middle of March, scrambling for work and trying to find ways to make ends meet. I’m supporting my friends as much as I can. But I’m not capable of writing checks.”

So when hockey starts up again, many people will start to get back to a place that’s more normal nearly a year after the coronavirus stopped everything.

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Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Morning all. Had a dream last night we took a B2B field trip to see a retired hockey player’s house. We got there and saw it was boarded up and condemned so we couldn’t go in. I decided to go back to the hotel to check in. Nugget had fun running into the elevator then running to the check in desk.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

Good Morning!
Back in CT to prepare for the storm. Worse than the storm is the cold weather that will follow. It’s going to be frickin’ freezing! I’m loading up the wood bins and test running the snowblower today. Getting gas. Jo can do the French toast shopping.
Breakthrough day yesterday as the carpenter announced that it was time to get everything out of the house – tools, lumber, and cabinets. We are all done framing, the plumber has everything roughed in. The electrician’s time to take the stage. After him, it happens fast ( in theory ).

So, what do you do when your job is gone and might not come back? I’m asking Jo to donate to good causes in my name, if she wants to give me anything besides the lump of coal. Lots of people could use a lil help this year, some of them bring the Bruin games to our living rooms!

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

It’s a balmy 4 degrees in the Mad River Valley this morning! Oddly it didn’t feel that cold on my morning walk. Granted I was pretty bundled up but even still I thought I’d feel a chill.

Donating is always a good Christmas gift! I’ve done pretty well shopping online on sites not named Amazon for Christmas presents. That was my goal.

The London Bear
Member
The London Bear

Yeah I’ve done my best to avoid amazon. I’ve become quite a fan of Etsy.

Leah’s present from us is sponsorship of a guide dog. I’ll be interested to see how that goes down! (she’ll get plenty of things to open from grandparents)

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Got face masks for my mom and dad through Etsy. And for books I used bookshop.org. It’s basically the Amazon for independent book stores. You have to pay for shipping but I don’t mind doing that since it supports small business.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

I’ve done pretty well shopping online on sites not named Amazon for Christmas presents

Also a goal of mine! We’re only doing a couple small gifts for each other, but not Amazon. Trying to stay local and small.

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

All I asked Santa for this year is a new pillow. Sleep is the only thing I need right now! lol

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

Now you can get the MyPillow2020 – it’s stuffed with ‘memberberries(tm) and it gently lulls you to sleep with soft whispers of conspiracy theories about election fraud and invading armies of latinx refugees.

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Order now and receive a free Qanon bath towel!

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

It was a little under 20 this morning when I went outside. Cold enough to complain a little, but bearable. Less fun last night when I went out in just sandals (without socks) to allow the dog to have his final bathroom break before bedtime.

I should consider donations as gifts more seriously, but I never do. I’ve got my fave charities and my giftgiving, but never the twain do meet. I’ve been getting solicitations the past few holiday seasons from a charity that provides livestock to subsistence farmers overseas. The pitch is something like “For $20 you can give them 3 chickens, for $100 two goats, for $300 a cow” or something like that. I think this year they are supplying llamas.
Not sure of the prices, but but I recall that they are pretty cheap. Especially when one considers that adopting a rescued dog costs something like $200-$400 around these parts. Now I’m thinking “but can I get a llama?”

The London Bear
Member
The London Bear

On a countryside walk recently we stumbled upon a bunch of llamas. Or probably they were alpacas. Alpaca wool is meant to be pretty good.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

On my commute to the office, there is a ranch owned by the family of a big commercial property developer from the 80s & 90s. (yes, a ranch carved out of a New England forest that is incongruously still present on the outskirts of a mid-sized city) They’ve had both llama & alpaca there – it’s always a fun activity to see what 4-legged critters are out.

It can be hard to tell them apart if one doesn’t see them often. Llama are really tall, with rather broad necks, whereas alpaca are more lithe, like woolly ostriches.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

Just found the catalog – it was an alpaca on the cover, (which makes sense because of wool-output per feed-cost) and I went looking for the price – $700. Unsurprisingly, it is targeted towards Andean families.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

Speaking of charitable giving,I feel like I should mention one of my peeves. The Paul Ryan tax bill effectively eliminated itemized tax deductions by increasing the standard deduction. So unless one is underwater with a new home mortgage, it is difficult to accumulate enough deductions to make itemizing worthwhile. For most people, this is a form of a tax cut. However, without itemizing, then there is no benefit to the taxpayer for charitable giving. Previously, giving was easier because of the thought process “Yeah, it’s $500, but I’m going to get most of that back at tax time”.
This is going to gut American charities over time, and erode our reputation as a generous nation.
There are just so many stupid things like this that have happened over the last 4 years. It’s hard to look at this presidency and think that they haven’t been explicitly trying to hurt our international standing and political power. (Wow, I went unusually political there.)