Toronto Maple Leafs Pooling Money to Help AHL Marlies

Leafs pooling money

Toronto Maple Leafs Pooling Money to Help Struggling AHL Marlies

Generosity is in the air. That following the news that the Leafs’ core is pooling money to help their AHL Marlies’ teammates.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday night that a group of the Leafs’ well-compensated NHL players had pooled money together to make a contribution to their AHL teammates.

Friedman relayed the story on Sportsnet’s Saturday version of their “Headlines” intermission show.

He also said it was one of the Leafs’ unofficial leaders that had brought the Leafs pooling money idea forward. Jason Spezza reportedly brought forth the idea to the Maple Leafs’ leadership core: pay it forward, spread the wealth.

The 37-year-old Spezza is on his second league-minimum contract with the Leafs. Although, he has earned a comfortable living through his 18-year career.

It was a story/gesture that the Leafs were trying to keep quiet.

“Yeah, obviously not quiet enough,” captain John Tavares said to Sportsnet, when asked about it following Saturday’s 4-1 win versus the Winnipeg Jets.

“I have to give Spezz a lot of credit on this one. He kind of brought it to the forefront from the leadership standpoint, and the leadership group thought it was really important. I think we know — society as a whole, but certainly in our game — how tough a year it is for so many. So, within the organization, we wanted to make sure we try to take care of our own.”

What Happened to AHL Salaries?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 shutdowns, an AHL player’s minimum salary for the 2020-21 campaign is $51,000, per the AHL’s CBA. However, due to the shortened season and zero-to-minimal gate revenue, players’ salaries have been reduced by 52%.

That minimum salary comes before the 52 percent cut and taxes that takes even more from the cash strapped players.

Due to the pandemic, many suffered a long off-season without a paycheque. They are now getting their pay chopped by half and expected to play at full speed.

All professional leagues have taken a beating to their finances due to the pandemic. The AHL has been hit even harder. There is no television contract to fall back on.

The Toronto Maple Leafs team have not looked this close nor had as much character as this current group does. With the leadership group led by captain John Tavares and the multitude of experienced veterans, this is a far more accountable team than we’ve become accustomed to.

Pay it Forward

The team is not only keeping themselves in check while currently sitting in first place of the North Division, they are looking after those around them.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe told Sportsnet‘s Luke Fox that he had heard “some rumblings” about the gift for the AHL squad.

“It just, first of all, speaks to the character of our group, but I think it also just speaks to the recognition of the fact through this pandemic people in all walks of life are going through some tough times and the hockey business as well at different levels,” Keefe said to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox.

“If you’re a guy playing on an AHL contract, it’s a challenge to get through this period. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but not surprised that our players have the character that they do and step up.”

The Maple Leafs currently have 10 active players with estimated contract earnings over $30 million. Of those 10, three players have brought in over $70 million in career earnings. (All estimates courtesy of

None of these players were expected to, nor should have to, ‘pass the plate’ for their cash strapped colleagues. But the gesture further illustrates the character and overall good qualities that are reflected throughout this Maple Leafs’ team.