On Tuesday the Florida Panthers began to make layoffs in preparation for what could turn into a lengthy lockout by the NHL. Among those included was mascot Stanley C. Panther, no not the actual mascot, but the man inside of the suit who shall simply be referred to as “Stanley”.
His duties went beyond just putting on a costume and entertaining fans at games, but with the lockout those tasks and in game entertainment become unneeded. It’s part of the business and I understand that, things need to be done to save money as tough as things are today, and while I’m sure Stanley needed the money himself the blame should be pointed at the lockout and not the Panthers.
The layoff numbers were around 13, coming from sales, building ops and Stanley; all of which hope to be rehired once the lockout is over. Of course I hope the best for anyone involved as times are tough and I’m sure they relied greatly on the income and I hope along with them that they are rehired. Of course the Panthers could always go the other route once everything returns to normal and hire new people to take the positions at a lesser cost, but we’ll get to that if and when it happens.
Sunrise Sports and Entertainment released the following statement from COO & President Michael Yormark:
“Due primarily to the NHL work stoppage, but also due to changes and efficiencies in our normal business operations, SSE and the Florida Panthers instituted a number of staff adjustments today including staff reductions.
“We thank all of those former staff members for their efforts, while SSE’s human resources department has volunteered to work with these former staff members to assist them in finding new employment.
“Out of respect for both the former and current staff members, we will have no further comment at this time.”
On Wednesday morning Yormark tweeted this however:
Having breakfast with our entire staff this morning.Excited about pushing the business forward.Red rising.
— Michael Yormark (@PanthersYormark) September 19, 2012
It has received some notice and many fans are upset, stating that it seems cold to mention a breakfast with the entire staff just after laying off dedicated workers of the company. If times really are tough and money needs to be saved by cutting ties with employees, one would hope he got a deal on the breakfast supplied.
That’s not all though, there is more to the story after the layoffs more so than the President tweeting how good breakfast was with his “full” staff. Stanley C. Panther does in fact have his own twitter account (@StanleyCPanther) and on Wednesday, just 24 hours after “Stanley” had been let go the account tweeted this:
I <3 Panthers Hockey ! ! !
— Stanley C. Panther (@StanleyCPanther) September 19, 2012
One would think Stanley would no longer be in control of the account, if he ever was to begin with, so who would be tweeting such a thing on his behalf? Or rather, who would have thought it was a good idea and asked it to be done? It seems classless for whomever it may be to do such a thing, it may have been done to let fans know “Don’t worry, Stanley will continue to be here.” or something along those lines.
But for others, they realize that someone had lost their job to cut costs, believe this is simply rubbing salt into the wound. No statement has been made on the tweet nor mention of the mascot continuing to make appearances during the Panthers newest “I Love Panthers Hockey” campaign, but one should expect that’s the case, with a “more affordable” option in the suit.
Personally, I hope everything works out for all of those involved and the lockout is quickly resolved, not from a fan standpoint but for the well being of those more affected by it.