This morning at the Bell Sensplex in Kanata the Ottawa Senators launched their 20th anniversary season, which they've billed as a celebration of what hockey means to the players, fans, and community in Ottawa.
First, the big news: The Senators heritage jersey wasn't revealed at the press conference. Despite the fact that most people have a good idea of what it will likely look like, the Senators organization will wait until closer to the start of the season to unveil it. The team will wear the jerseys 11 times this season, for eight home games in total including ones against the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. Much of the promotional calendar seemed to jive with what was presented on Icethetics earlier this week.
The event was emceed by local celebrity Max Keeping, and speeches were made by Ottawa Senators president Cyril Leeder, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, former (and first) Senators captain Laurie Boschman, and current Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. Both Boschman and Alfredsson talked about their experiences coming to Ottawa from outside the community, and feeling welcomed in it to the extent that they've remained here. (I'll have more from interviews those two, as well as Chris Neil, in a future post.)
The event was mostly about the promotional schedule (which you can download, in .PDF form, by clicking here) for this upcoming season, which is highlighted by the Heritage Jersey nights mentioned above as well as a week of festivities leading up to this season's All-Star Game, hosted by the Senators. Also launched was the 20th Anniversary Logo (which is in the photo at the top of the page) and slogan: "Hockey makes us" and "Le hockey, notre raison d'être."
Leeder discussed the team's emphasis on its history in the city, including the original Senators during the beginning of the 20th century--specifically the late Frank Nighbor, whose family members were among the attendees. I got the impression that since, with a rebuilding team that is expected to take some bumps during the season this year, the Senators organization were putting significant emphasis on promotions off the ice to keep the games an entertaining experience. It's a new direction for a team which, for much of its 20 years, could let the game on the ice take care of promoting the experience, and it's a good one for fans.
This video, which was posted on our site yesterday, goes a long way in describing the direction the team is taking in its promotions for the upcoming season:
When I get more time, I'll offer some more content from the press conference, including more about what the speakers said at the event, short interviews with some of them, and a photo feature.