Daily Roundup: Florida Panthers hire NHL’s first Black assistant GM, NHL wants more deferral money, and more

Updated: November 18, 2020 at 5:03 pm by Zach Laing

Welcome to Daily Faceoff’s daily NHL roundup where we bring you the NHL’s most important news and rumours every day. 

Panthers hire Peterson

The Flordia Panthers have made a major move to break a racial wall in the National Hockey League by hiring the first Black assistant general manager in league history.

The news was made official by the club Tuesday as general manager Bill Zito announced the hiring of Brett Peterson.

The 39-year-old Peterson most recently worked as the vice president of hockey for the Wasserman Media Group that has represent much of the league’s elite talent.

“It’s really hard to put into words: It’s an honour. It’s something that never in my wildest dreams would I have even thought would be possible,” Peterson told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I’m just happy that now there can be a second and a third.

“The game’s been great to me. I just want to help open up doors and hopefully help grow our footprint … in terms of getting people excited about not only the Florida Panthers and our product, but the game of hockey in general because there’s just a wide range of opportunities that I think people don’t even know existed to them.”

Peterson played five years of professional hockey in the American Hockey League, the East Coast Hockey League and International Hockey League after winning an NCAA National Championship with Boston College.

“His substantive hockey experience as a player, significant developmental and evaluation skills, and business acumen as a negotiator combine to form an elite skill set that is very difficult to find in our sport,” said Zito. “There are many who can excel in one of those disciplines, but few who excel in all three.”

Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems

The NHL is reportedly seeking an additional 13 percent deferral of players salaries on their 2020-21 paycheque as an opening negotiation on the league’s return to play, the New York Posts’ Larry Brooks reports.

Here’s what Brooks wrote about the request:

It is unclear how the NHLPA, which agreed to a 10 percent deferral in the six-year collective bargaining agreement extension agreed upon by the parties just over four months ago in early July, will respond. Escrow will be capped — and set — at 20 percent for the season.

It is also unclear whether the request represents an ultimatum or if it is the board’s initial position for a negotiation apart from the season’s format and pandemic-related protocols. The original 10 percent deferral is due to be repaid in three equal installments (without interest) in October of 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The league has continued to identify January 1st as it’s favoured start date meaning if it were to happen, work would need to be done quickly to hammer out further details on a return to play.

ECHL North Division opts out

The entire North division of the East Coast Hockey League has opted out of a return to play, sources told ESPN.

It means six teams won’t be playing this season: the Adirondack Thunder (New Jersey Devils), Brampton Beast (Ottawa Senators), Maine Mariners (New York Rangers), the Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto Maple Leafs), the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) and the Worcester Railers (New York Islanders.

The league’s season will now feature 18 teams with the Atlanta Gladiators (Boston Bruins) having previously opted out. This season will feature a two-tier schedule with 13 teams starting in December with a 72-game schedule and the others starting on Jan. 15 with a 62-game schedule.

“We’ve tried to lay out the options for all our teams so that each team can make their own decision. It’s certainly not normal protocol. But we want to get back to hockey. Every jurisdiction is a little bit different, and so providing our teams options seemed to be the best solution,” commissioner Ryan Crelin told ESPN last month.

On Twitter: @zjlaing