Spezza spearheads campaign to have Leafs teammates pay AHL players

The 37 year old veteran and his teammates empty their own pockets to pay for minor league guys without a paycheck.


Ask anyone around the NHL and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who can say a bad word about Jason Spezza.

The 37 year old veteran is known as one of the classiest players in the NHL and this week he stepped up to put his money where his mouth is. It was reportedly Spezza who spearheaded a campaign amongst his Toronto Maple Leafs teammates to pool their funds and pay AHL players with the Toronto Marlies who had their salaries reduced due to COVID-19.

Spezza and the Leafs had hoped to keep the movement quiet, but word leaked out and now there's an outpouring of appreciation for Spezza online.

“I have to give Spezz a lot of credit on this one," said Leafs captain John Tavares. "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.”

AHL players were guaranteed at least $30,000 salary for the season but there are reports that the league didn't follow through on that promise. Once Spezza heard that, he stepped up personally to help. Keep in mind that while Spezza himself has earned a fair chunk of change in his career, he's been paid the league minimum over the past two seasons.

Kudos to Spezza and his teammates for stepping up.