Anthony Stewart was set to make $1 million this season playing for the Carolina Hurricanes. Instead, with the lockout dragging on he’s agreed to take a huge pay cut to play for the Nottingham Panthers of Britain’s Elite League, according to the New York Times.
“It’s not necessarily about the money,” said Stewart. “I’ve been sitting around the last two weeks doing informal skates on my own, and it’s good to just get out on the ice and get some full-blown game action.”
While other players have joined the more prominent European leagues, Stewart is the first locked-out NHLer to take his talents to the United Kingdom.
To provide some context, there are teams in the league that use local rinks to play their games. Additionally, the top players tend to make something like 800 pounds weekly, while others make no money directly, but get support from sponsors. There are also players that have jobs outside of hockey.
Nottingham Panthers GM Gary Moran suggested that it’s good for players to go to college to prepare themselves “for when they can no longer afford to live the dream that is ice hockey in Britain.”
Stewart will also have to take a bus to games and then bus back on the same day so that the team can save money on hotel fees. Still, Stewart says that won’t bother him.
“So long as you get to go play in a real-life game and get to go full speed, it doesn’t matter — you could play in England, in Austria, Switzerland, Sweden,” Stewart’s agent, Eustace King said.
Stewart added that he’ll be good to play “as long as I’ve got food in me.”