Top flight hockey club SaiPa starts talks about temporary job cuts

The economic impact of coronavirus on the club's activities means it has to consider furloughs, or even some job cuts, for players, coaches and staff alike.

File picture of SaiPa's home rink Kisapuisto in Lappeenranta / Credit: Liiga SaiPa

Lappeenranta’s professional ice hockey team SaiPa is starting co-operation negotiations on temporary job cuts at the club.

The talks apply to all personnel at Liiga-SaiPa Oy including people with fixed-term employment contracts and full time staff: players, coaching staff, maintenance workers, office and restaurant workers as well.

The club, which plays in Finland’s top flight Liiga league, says there’s been a “significant loss of income” because of the coronavirus pandemic. Any staff would be furloughed for between 30 and 90 days while any permanent redundancies would likely be limited to three members of staff.

“The first challenge for the future is to overcome the difficulties caused by the corona pandemic. We will use all means to help the company cope with this, get to our feet and continue to be a strong player” the club’s staff says in a Tuesday evening statement.

“Without a proudly yellow-black community, we are nothing. Supporters’ love for SaiPa keeps us alive. This community is larger than individual matches, seasons or teams” they add.

SaiPa was founded in the late 1940s and has been a mainstay of Finnish domestic hockey over the decades. Their current home is the Kisapuisto rink in Lappeenranta, with a capacity just shy of 5,000 seats.

Lappeenranta City Council voted on Monday to develop a new ice arena at Kisapuisto to replace the current rink.