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Scotiabank Place
Scotiabank Place is a multi-purpose arena, located in Kanata, a suburban district of Ottawa, Ontario. It is home to the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League. It has also hosted the Canadian University Men’s Basketball Championship. Wikipedia

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The Ottawa Senators are a professional ice hockey team based in Ottawa,Ontario, Canada. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Senators play their home games at the 19,153 seat (20,500 capacity) Canadian Tire Centre which opened in 1996.

Sam’s Club

Founded and established by Ottawa real estate developer Bruce Firestone, the team is the second NHL franchise to use the Ottawa Senators name. The original Ottawa Senators, founded in 1883, had a famed history, winning 11 Stanley Cups[1]and playing in the NHL from 1917 until 1934. On December 6, 1990, after a two-year public campaign by Firestone, the NHL awarded a new franchise, which began play in the 1992–93 season.[2] The current team owner is Eugene Melnyk,[3] and in 2012, the club was valued by Forbes Magazine at $220 million.[4]

The team has had success, qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs in twelve of the past fourteen seasons, four division titles, the Presidents’ Trophy in 2003 and appeared in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals. The success has been reflected inattendance. The club has averaged one of the highest attendance in the league.[5]

History[edit source | editbeta]

Ottawa’s first logo 1992–1995. The laurels on the helmet would later replace the text and be removed from the helmet completely.

Ottawa had been home to the original Senators, a founding NHL franchise and eleven-time Stanley Cup champions. After the NHL expanded to the United States in the late 1920s, the original Senators’ eventual financial losses forced the franchise to move to St. Louis in 1934 operating as the Eagles. The team was unsuccessful in St. Louis, and was permanently suspended after just one year.

Pre-launch logo 1989–1991

Fifty-four years later, after the NHL announced plans to expand, Ottawa real estate developer Bruce Firestone decided along with colleagues Cyril Leeder and Randy Sexton that Ottawa was now able to support an NHL franchise, and the group proceeded to put a bid together. His firm, Terrace Investments, did not have the liquid assets to finance the expansion fee and the team, but the group conceived a strategy to leverage a land development. In 1989, after finding a suitable site on farmland just west of Ottawa in Kanata on which to construct a new arena, Terrace announced its intention to win a franchise and launched a successful “Bring Back the Senators” campaign to both woo the public and persuade the NHL that the city could support an NHL franchise. Public support was high and the group would secure over 11,000 season ticket pledges.[6] On December 12, 1990, the NHL approved a new franchise for Firestone’s group, to start play in the 1992–93 season.[2]

1992–96: First seasons[edit source | editbeta]

The new team hired former NHL player Mel Bridgman, who had no previous NHL management experience, as its first general managerin 1992. The team was initially interested in hiring former Jack Adams Award winner Brian Sutter as its first head coach, but Sutter came with a high price tag and was reluctant to be a part of an expansion team. When Sutter was eventually signed to coach theBoston Bruins, Ottawa signed Rick Bowness, the man Sutter replaced in Boston. The new Senators played their first game on October 8, 1992, in the Ottawa Civic Centre against the Montreal Canadiens with lots of pre-game spectacle.[7] The Senators would defeat the Canadiens 5–3 in one of the few highlights that season. Montreal would eventually finish the season with a Stanley Cup victory. Following the initial excitement of the opening night victory, the club floundered badly and would eventually tie with the San Jose Sharksfor the worst record in the league, winning only 10 games with 70 losses and 4 ties for 24 points, three points better than the NHL record for futility. The Senators had aimed low and considered the 1992–93 season a small success, as Firestone had set a goal for the season of not setting a new NHL record for fewest points in a season. The long term plan was to finish low in the standings for its first few years in order to secure high draft picks and eventually contend for the Stanley Cup.[8]

Bridgman was fired after one season and Team President Randy Sexton took over the general manager duties. Firestone himself soon left the team and Rod Bryden emerged as the new owner. The strategy of aiming low and securing a high draft position did not change. The Senators finished last overall for the next three seasons. Although 1993 first overall draft choice Alexandre Daigle wound up being one of the greatest draft busts in NHL history,[9] they chose Radek Bonk in 1994, Bryan Berard (traded for Wade Redden) in 1995,Chris Phillips in 1996, and Marian Hossa in 1997, all of whom would become solid NHL players and formed a strong core of players in years to come. Alexei Yashin, the team’s first ever draft selection from 1992, emerged as one of the NHL’s brightest young stars. The team traded many of their better veteran players of the era, including 1992–93 leading scorer Norm Maciver, and fan favorites Mike Peluso and Bob Kudelski, in an effort to stockpile prospects and draft picks.

Inside the Senators’ arena, Canadian Tire Centre, their home since January 1996.

As the 1995–96 season began, star centre Alexei Yashin refused to honour his contract and did not play. In December, after three straight last-place finishes and a team which was ridiculed throughout the league, fans began to grow restless waiting for the team’s long term plan to yield results, and arena attendance began to decline. Rick Bowness was fired in late 1995 and was replaced by the Prince Edward Island Senators‘ head coach Dave Allison. Allison would fare no better than his predecessor, and the team would stumble to a 2–22–3 record under him. Sexton himself was fired and replaced by Pierre Gauthier, the former assistant GM of Anaheim.[10] Before the end of January 1996, Gauthier had resolved the team’s most pressing issues by settling star player Alexei Yashin’s contract dispute, and hiring the highly regarded Jacques Martin as head coach.[11] While Ottawa finished last overall once again, the 1995–96 season ended with renewed optimism, due in part to the upgraded management and coaching, and also to the emergence of an unheralded rookie from Sweden named Daniel Alfredsson, who would win the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year in 1996.[12]

1996–2004: Jacques Martin era[edit source | editbeta]

Martin would impose a “strong defence first” philosophy that led to the team qualifying for the playoffs every season that he coached, but he was criticized for the team’s lack of success in the playoffs, notably losing four straight series against the provincial rival Toronto Maple Leafs.[13] Martin outlasted several general managers and a change in ownership.

In 1996–97, his first season, the club qualified for the playoffs in the last game of the season, and nearly defeated the Buffalo Sabres in the first round. In 1997–98, the club finished with their first winning record and upset the heavily favoured New Jersey Devils to win their first playoff series.[12] In 1998–99, the Senators jumped from 14th overall in the previous season to 3rd, with 103 points—the first 100-point season in club history, only to be swept in the first round. In 1999–2000 despite the holdout of team captain Alexei Yashin, Martin guided the team to the playoffs, only to lose to the Maple Leafs in the first Battle of Ontario series.[14][15] Yashin returned for 2000–01and the team improved to win their division and place second in the Eastern Conference. Yashin played poorly in another first round playoff loss[16] and on the day of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, he was traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for Zdeno CharaBill Muckalt, and the second overall selection in the draft, which Ottawa promptly used to select centre Jason Spezza.[17]

Jason Spezza, currently Ottawa’s top center, was selected with the draft choice received in exchange for Alexei Yashin in 2001.

The 2001–02 Senators regular season points total dropped, but in the playoffs, they upset thePhiladelphia Flyers for the franchise’s second playoff series win. Yet the Sens would lose in game 7 of the second round of the playoffs. Despite speculation that Martin would be fired, it was GM Marshall Johnston who left, retiring from the team,[18] replaced by John Muckler, the Senators’ first with previous GM experience.[19]

In 2002–03 off-ice problems dominated the headlines, as the Senators filed for bankruptcy in mid-season, but continued play after getting emergency financing.[20] Despite the off-ice problems, Ottawa had an outstanding season, placing first overall in the NHL to win thePresident’s Trophy. In the playoffs they came within one game of making it into the finals.[21]Prior to the 2003–04 season, pharmaceutical billionaire Eugene Melnyk would purchase the club to bring financial stability.[22] Martin would guide the team to another good regular season but again would lose in the first round of the playoffs, leading to Martin’s dismissal as management felt that a new coach was required for playoff success.[23]

2004–present: Bryan Murray era[edit source | editbeta]

After the playoff loss, owner Melnyk promised that changes were coming and they came quickly. In June 2004, Anaheim Ducks GM Bryan Murray of nearby Shawville, became head coach. That summer, the team also made substantial personnel changes, trading long-time players Patrick Lalime[24] and Radek Bonk,[25] and signing free agent goaltender Dominik Hasek.[26] The team would not be able to show its new lineup for a year, as the 2004–05 NHL lockout intervened and most players played in Europe or in the minors. In a final change, just before the 2005–06 season, the team traded long-time player Marian Hossa for Dany Heatley.

The media predicted the Senators to be Stanley Cup contenders in 2005–06, as they had a strong core of players returning, played in an up-tempo style fitting the new rule changes and Hasek was expected to provide top-notch goaltending.[27] The team rushed out of the gate, winning 19 of the first 22 games, in the end winning 52 games and 113 points, placing first in the conference, and second overall. The newly formed ‘CASH’[28] line of Alfredsson, Spezza and newly acquired Dany Heatley established itself as one of the league’s top offensive lines.[29] Hasek played well until he was injured during the 2006 Winter Olympics,[30] forcing the team to enter the playoffs with rookie netminder Ray Emery as their starter.[31] Without Hasek, the club bowed out in a second round loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

Forward Dany Heatley netted two consecutive 50 goal seasons in 2005–06 and the following year.

2006–07: Trip to the Stanley Cup finals[edit source | editbeta]

For more details on this topic, see 2006–07 Ottawa Senators season.

In 2006–07, the Senators reached the Stanley Cup Finals after qualifying for the playoffs in nine consecutive seasons. The Senators had a high turn-over of personnel and the disappointment of 2006 to overcome and started the season poorly. Trade rumours swirled around Daniel Alfredsson for most of the last months of 2006. The team lifted itself out of last place in the division to nearly catch the Buffalo Sabres by season’s end, placing fourth in the Eastern Conference. The team finished with 105 points, their fourth straight 100 point season and sixth in the last eight.[32] In the playoffs, Ottawa continued its good play. Led by the ‘CASH’ line, goaltender Ray Emery, and the strong defence of Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov, the club defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, the second-ranked New Jersey Devils, and the top-ranked Buffalo Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson improved his play in the 2007 playoffs, tallying a playoff leading 22 points

First Stanley Cup finals in the capital in 80 years
For more details on this topic, see 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.

The 2006–07 Senators thus became the first Ottawa team to be in the Stanley Cup final since1927 and the city was swept up in the excitement.[33] Businesses along all of the main streets posted large hand-drawn ‘Go Sens Go’ signs, residents put up large displays in front of the their homes or decorated their cars.[34] A large Ottawa Senators flag was draped on the City Hall, along with a large video screen showing the games. A six-storey likeness of Daniel Alfredsson was hung on the Corel building.[35] Rallies were held outside of City Hall, car rallies of decorated cars paraded through town and a section of downtown, dubbed the ‘Sens Mile’, was closed off to traffic during and after games for fans to congregate.[36]

In the final, the Senators now faced the Anaheim Ducks, considered a favourite since the start of the season, a team the Senators had last played in 2006, and a team known for its strong defence. The Ducks won the first two games in Anaheim 3–2 and 1–0. Returning home, the Senators won game three 5–3, but lost game four 3–2. The Ducks won game five 6–2 in Anaheim to clinch the series. The Ducks had played outstanding defence, shutting down the ‘CASH’ line, forcing Murray to split up the line. The Ducks scored timely goals and Ducks’ goaltender Jean-Sébastien Giguèreout-played Emery.[37]

2007–11: A team in decline[edit source | editbeta]

In the off-season after the Stanley Cup Final, Bryan Murray’s contract was expiring, while GM John Muckler had one season remaining, at which he was expected to retire. Murray, who had previously been at GM for other NHL clubs, was expected to take over the GM position, although no public timetable was given. Owner Melnyk decided to offer Muckler another position in the organization and give the GM position to Murray. Muckler declined the offer and was relieved from his position. Melnyk publicly justified the move, saying that he expected to lose Murray if his contract ran out. Murray then elevated John Paddock, the assistant coach, to head coach of the Senators. Under Paddock, the team came out to a record start to the 2007–08 season. However, team play declined to a .500 level and the team looked to be falling out of the playoffs. Paddock was fired by Murray, who took over coaching on an interim basis. The club managed to qualify for the playoffs by a tie-breaker, but was swept in the first round of the playoffs to the Penguins. In June, the club bought out goaltender Ray Emery who had become notorious for off-ice events in Ottawa and lateness to several team practices.

For 2008–09, Murray hired Craig Hartsburg to coach the Senators. Under Hartsburg’s style, the Senators struggled and played under .500. Uneven goaltending with Martin Gerber and Alex Auld meant the team played cautiously to protect the goaltender. Murray’s patience ran out in February 2009 with the team well out of playoff contention and Hartsburg was fired, although he had two years left on his contract, and the team also had Paddock under contract. Cory Clouston was elevated from the Binghamton coaching position. The team played above .500 under Clouston and rookie goaltender Brian Elliott, who had been promoted from Binghamton. Gerber was waived from the team at the trading deadline and the team traded for goaltender Pascal Leclaire, although he would not play due to injury. The team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons. Auld would be traded in the off-season to make room. Clouston’s coaching had caused a rift with top player Dany Heatley (although unspecified ‘personal issues’ were also noted by Heatley) and after Clouston was given a contract to continue coaching, Heatley made a trade demand and was traded just before the start of the 2009–10 season.

In 2009–10, the Senators were a .500 team until January, when the team went on a team-record 11-game winning streak. The streak propelled the team to the top of the Northeast Division standings and a top-three placing for the playoffs. The team was unable to hold off the Sabres for the division lead, but qualified for the playoffs in the fifth position. For the third season in four, the Senators played off against the Penguins in the first round. A highlight for the Senators was winning a triple-overtime fifth game in Pittsburgh, but the team was unable to win a playoff game on home ice, losing the series in six games.

Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlssonis regarded as a cornerstone of the franchise as it rebuilds.

2011–present: Rebuilding[edit source | editbeta]

The Senators had a much poorer than expected 2010–2011 campaign, resulting in constant rumours of a shakeup right through until December. The rumours were heightened in January after the team went on a lengthy losing streak. January was a dismal month for the Senators, winning only one game all month. Media speculated on the imminent firing of Clouston, Murray or both. Owner Melynk cleared the air in an article in the January 22, 2011 edition of the Ottawa Sun. Melnyk stated that he would not fire either Clouston or Murray, but that he had given up on this season and was in the process of developing a plan for the future.[38] On Monday, January 24, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported that the plan included hiring a new general manager before the June entry draft and that Murray would be retained as an advisor to the team. A decision on whether to retain Clouston would be made by the new general manager. The article by Roy MacGregor, a long-time reporter of the Ottawa Senators, stated that former assistant coach Pierre McGuire had already been interviewed.[39] Murray, in a press conference that day stated that he wished to stay on as the team’s general manager. He also stated that Melnyk was allowing him to continue as general manager without restraint. Murray said that the players were now to be judged by their play until the February 28 trade deadline. Murray would attempt to move “a couple, at least” of the players for draft picks or prospects at that time if the Senators remained out of playoff contention.[40] At the time of Murray’s comments the team was eight games under .500 and 14 points out of a playoff position after 49 games.

Murray started with the trading of Mike Fisher to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2011 draft. Fisher already had a home in Nashville with new wife Carrie Underwood. The trading of Fisher, a fan favorite in Ottawa, lead to a small anti-Underwood backlash in the city with the banning of her songs from the play lists of some local radio stations. Murray next traded Chris Kelly, another veteran, to the Boston Bruins for a second-round pick in the 2011 draft. A few days later, pending unrestricted free agentJarkko Ruutu was sent to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2011. A swap of goaltenders was made with theColorado Avalanche which brought Craig Anderson to Ottawa in exchange for Brian Elliott. Both goalies were having sub-par seasons prior to the trade. Under-achieving forward Alex Kovalev was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a seventh-round draft pick. On trade deadline day, Ottawa picked up goaltender Curtis McElhinney on waivers, and traded Chris Campoli with a seventh-round pick to theChicago Blackhawks for a second-round pick and Ryan Potulny. Goaltender Anderson played very well down the stretch for Ottawa, and the team quickly signed the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent to a four-year contract. After media speculation on the future of Murray within the organization, Murray was re-signed as general manager on April 8, to a three-year extension.[41] On April 9, Head Coach Cory Clouston and assistants Greg Carvel and Brad Lauer were dismissed from their positions. Murray said that the decision was made based on the fact that the team entered the season believing it was a contender, but finished with a 32–40–10 record. Former Detroit Red Wings‘ assistant coach Paul MacLean was hired as Clouston’s replacement on June 14, 2011.

As the 2011–12 season began, many hockey writers and commentators were convinced that the Senators would finish at or near the bottom of the NHL standings.[42] In the midst of rebuilding, the Ottawa lineup contained many rookies and inexperienced players. The team struggled out of the gate, losing five of their first six games before a reversal of fortunes saw them win six games in a row. In December 2011, the team acquired forward Kyle Turris from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for David Rundblad and a draft pick. The team improved its play afterwards and moved into a playoff position before the All-Star Game. For the first time in Senators’ history, the All-Star Game was held in Ottawa, and it was considered a great success. Five Senators were voted in or named to the event, including Daniel Alfredsson, who was named captain of one team. The team continued its playoff push after the break. After starting goalie Craig Anderson injured his hand in a kitchen accident at home, the Senators called up Robin Lehner from Binghamton and acquired highly regarded goaltender Ben Bishop from the St. Louis Blues. While Anderson recovered, the team continued its solid play. On April 1, 2012, the Senators defeated the New York Islanders 5–1, officially ensuring a playoff position. The team finished as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, drawing a first round playoff matchup against the Conference champion New York Rangers. Ultimately, Ottawa lost the series in seven games.

The next season, Ottawa would be challenged to repeat the success they had in 2011–12, due to long-term injuries to key players such as Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Craig Anderson. Despite these injuries, the Senators would finish 7th in the Eastern Conference and head coach Paul MacLean would go on to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year. Ottawa would play the second-seeded Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, eventually winning in 5 games, blowing out Montreal 6–1 in games 3 and 5. The Senators would advance to play the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, this time losing in 5 games. During the offseason, the Senators traded veteran defenceman Sergei Gonchar to the Dallas Stars for a 6th-round pick in the2013 draft. July 5, 2013 would be a day of mixed emotions for the city and fans, as long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, leaving Ottawa after 17 seasons with the Senators and 14 as captain. The signing shocked numerous fans across the city and many within the Senators organization. The day finished optimistically however, as Murray acquired star forward Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forwards Jakob SilfverbergStefan Noesen and a 1st-round pick in the 2014 draft. Murray would also sign free agent forward Clarke MacArthur to a two-year contract that same day and would sign free agent defenceman Joe Corvo to a one-year contract three days later on July 8, 2013.

Home rinks[edit source | editbeta]

Ottawa Civic Centre[edit source | editbeta]

For more details on this topic, see Ottawa Civic Centre.

The Senators played their home games at the Ottawa Civic Centre from 1992 to 1996

The new Senators’ first home arena was the Ottawa Civic Centre, located on Bank Street, where they played from the 1992-93 season to January of the 1995-96 season. They played their first home game on October 8, 1992 against the Montreal Canadiens with lots of pre-game spectacle.[43] The Senators would defeat the Canadiens 5–3 in one of few highlights that season. Montreal would eventually finish the season as Stanley Cup champions. Following the initial excitement of the opening night victory, the club floundered badly and would eventually tie with the San Jose Sharks for the worst record in the league, finishing with only 10 wins, 70 losses and 4 ties for 24 points, three points better than the NHL record for futility.

Canadian Tire Centre[edit source | editbeta]

For more details on this topic, see Canadian Tire Centre.

As part of its bid to land a NHL franchise for Ottawa, Terrace Corporation unveiled the original proposal for the arena development at a press conference in September 1989. The proposal included a hotel and 20,500 seat arena, named The Palladium on 100 acres (0.40 km2), surrounded by a 500-acre (2.0 km2) mini-city, named “West Terrace.” The site itself, 600 acres (2.4 km2) of farmland, on the western border of Kanata, had been acquired in May 1989 by Terrace. Rezoning approval was granted by the Board on August 28, 1991, with conditions. The conditions imposed by the board included a scaling down of the arena to 18,500 seats, a moratorium on development outside the initial 100-acre (0.40 km2) arena site, and that the cost of the highway interchange with highway 417 be paid by Terrace. A two-year period was used seeking financing for the site and interchange by Terrace Corporation. The corporation received a $6 million grant from the federal government, but needed to borrow to pay for the rest of the costs of construction. A ground-breaking ceremony was held in June 1992 but actual construction did not start until July 7, 1994. Actual construction took 18 months, finishing in January 1996.

The newly built Palladium opened on January 15, 1996 with a concert by Canadian rocker Bryan Adams. The Senators played their first game in their new arena two days later, falling 3-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. On February 17, 1996, the name ‘Palladium’ was changed to the ‘Corel Centre’ when Corel Corporation, an Ottawa software company, signed a 10-year deal for the naming rights.

When mortgage holder Covanta Energy (the former Ogden Entertainment) went into receivership in 2001, Terrace was expected to pay off the entire debt. The ownership was not able to refinance the arena, eventually leading Terrace itself to declare bankruptcy in 2003. However, on August 26, 2003, billionaire businessman Eugene Melnyk finalized the purchase of the Senators and the arena.[44] The arena and club became solely owned by Melnyk through a new company, Capital Sports Properties.

In 2004, the ownership applied to expand its seating. In December 2004, the City of Ottawa amended its by-laws and in 2005, the venue was allowed to increase its seating capacity to 19,153 and total attendance capacity to 20,500 when including standing room.[44][45]

On January 19, 2006, the arena became known as ‘Scotiabank Place’ after reaching a new 15-year naming agreement with Canadian bank Scotiabank on January 11, 2006.[46][47] Scotiabank had been an advertising partner with the club for several years and took over the naming after Corel declined to renew its naming agreement with the Senators, but continued as an advertising sponsor.

On June 18, 2013, the Ottawa Senators announced a new marketing agreement with Canadian Tire, and as a result, the arena was renamed the Canadian Tire Centre on July 1, 2013.[48]

Team identity[edit source | editbeta]

Logo and jersey design[edit source | editbeta]

For more details on this topic, see History of the Ottawa Senators (1992–).

The team colours are red, black and white, with added trim of gold. The team’s away jersey is mostly white with red and black trim, while the home jersey is red, with white and black trim. The club logo is officially the head of a Roman general, a member of the Senateof the Roman Empire,[49] projecting from a gold circle. The original, unveiled on May 23, 1991, described the general as a “centurionfigure, strong and prominent” according to its designer, Tony Milchard.[49]

The current jersey design was unveiled on August 22, 2007, in conjunction with the league-wide adoption of the Rbk EDGE jerseys byReebok for the 2007–08 season.[50] The jersey incorporates the original Senators’ ‘O’ logo as a shoulder patch. At the same time, the team updated its logos, and switched their usage. The primary logo, which according to team owner Eugene Melnyk, “represents strength and determination” is an update of the old secondary logo.[51] The old primary logo has become the team’s secondary logo and only appears on Senators’ merchandise.[50]

In 2011, the Senators introduced their current third jersey design. Mostly black, the jersey incorporated horizontal striping intended to be reminiscent of the original Senators’ ‘barber-pole’ designs. Shield-type patches were added to the shoulders. The design of the shield-type patches was intended to be similar to the shield patches that the original Senators added to their jerseys after each Stanley Cup championship win. The patches spell the team name, one in English, and one in French. The design was a collaborative effort between the Senators and a fan in Gatineau, Quebec who had been circulating a version of it on the internet since 2009.[52]

‘Spartacat’ – the team mascot

Attendance and revenues[edit source | editbeta]

On April 18, 2008, the club announced its final attendance figures for 2007–08. The club had 40 sell-outs out of 41 home dates, a total attendance of 812,665 during the regular season, placing the club third in attendance in the NHL.[53] The number of sell-outs and the total attendance were both club records. The previous attendance records were set during the 2005–06 with a season total of 798,453 and 33 sell-outs.[54] In 2006–07 regular season attendance was 794,271, with 31 sell-outs out of 41 home dates or an average attendance of 19,372. In the 2007 playoffs, the Senators played 9 games with 9 sell-outs and an attendance of 181,272 for an average of 20,141, the highest in team history.[54]

On November 29, 2011, a Forbes Magazine report valued the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club at $201 million, (17th highest in NHL). The valuation was based on $27 million for the sport, $70 million for the arena, $80 million for the market and $25 million for the brand. For 2010–11, the club had an operating income of $2.8 million on revenues of $100 million. The gate receipts for the 2010–11 season were $46 million and player expenses were $57 million. The operating income followed two years where the team posted a loss. Forbes estimates that the organization has a debt/value ratio of 65%, including arena debt.[4] Eugene Melnyk bought the team for $92 million in 2003.[3]

Arena entertainment[edit source | editbeta]

At many home games the fans are entertained both outside and inside Canadian Tire Centre with a myriad of talent – live music, rock bands, giveaways and promotions. The live music includes the traditional Scottish music of the ‘Sons of Scotland Pipe Band’ of Ottawa along with highland dancers.[55] Before and during games, entertainment is provided by Spartacat, the official mascot of the Senators, an anthropomorphic lion. He made his debut on the Senators’ opening night: October 8, 1992.[56] Anthems are usually sung by Ontario Provincial Police Constable Lyndon Slewidge. Slewidge sings the bilingual version of O Canada containing both English and French words.[57] The Senators have their own theme song Ottawa Senators Theme Song which is played as the team comes on the ice and is also used in Sens TV web videos. It was composed locally in Ottawa.[58]

Sens Army[edit source | editbeta]

Elgin Street after the Senators Game 3 win.

The fans of the Senators are known as the Sens Army.[59] Like most hockey fanatics, they are known to dress up for games; some in Roman legionary clothing. For the 2006–2007 playoff run, more fans then ever before would wear red, and fan activities included ‘Red Rallies’ of decorated cars, fan rallies at Ottawa City Hall Plaza and the ‘Sens Mile’ along Elgin Street where fans would congregate.[60]

Sens Mile[edit source | editbeta]

Much like the Red Mile in Calgary during the Flames‘ 2004 cup run and the Copper Kilometer in Edmonton during the Oilers‘ 2006 cup run, Ottawa Senators fans took to the streets to celebrate their team’s success during the 2006–07 playoffs. The idea to have a ‘Sens Mile’ on the downtown Elgin Street, a street with numerous restaurants and pubs, began as a grassroots campaign on Facebook by Ottawa residents before Game 4 of the Ottawa-Buffalo Eastern Conference Final series.[61] After the Game 5 win, Ottawa residents closed the street to traffic for a spontaneous celebration.[62] The City of Ottawa then closed Elgin Street for each game of the Final.[63]

Broadcasting and media[edit source | editbeta]

On television, home and away games are broadcast on Sportsnet East within the Ottawa River valley and Eastern Ontario, along withQuebec, the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland and Labrador .[64][65] Dean Brown is widely regarded as “the voice of the Ottawa Senators”, and he provides play-by-play for most Senators’ games broadcast on Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada. He is joined on the Sportsnet broadcasts by Ottawa native and former NHL player Denis Potvin.

On radio, all home and away games are broadcast on a network of local stations in eastern Ontario.[64] The ‘flagship’ radio station is the Ottawa station Team 1200, which produces the broadcasts and provides the play-by-play announcers.[64] Radio broadcasts on Team 1200 began in 1997–98 and the contract extends through the 2013–14 season.[66] The Team 1200 audio is available over the Internet,[67] and games are simulcast from the NHL main web site.[68]

During the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons, several games were only available in video on pay-per-view or at local movie theatres in the Ottawa area.[69] The “Sens TV” service was suspended indefinitely as of September 24, 2008.[70]

The Senators’ organization operates predominantly in English, but provides French services. The Senators’ web site is in both languages. Arena announcements and press releases are in both languages. The Senators’ ticket agency CapitalTickets.ca operates in English and French.[71] The French-language cable television network RDS broadcasts a selection of Senators games.[72] On the RDS network, former Senators goaltender Patrick Lalime is the colour analyst, starting in the 2011–12 season.[72] The Senators are broadcast on radio in French through CKOI 104.7 in Gatineau, Quebec.[73] Play-by-play is done by Nicolas St. Pierre and the colour commentary of Alain Sanscartier.[74]