Pardon my self-indulgence, but today is Captain Picard Day!!! Every June 16, the children aboard the USS Enterprise would create artwork in honour of their fearless leader, Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Captain Picard Day (via Robin Duffee)
Today, we honour that tradition by taking a look back at some of the leaders of the Ottawa Senators and compare them to their Star Trek counterparts. One of the higher honours in hockey is wearing a ‘C' on your jersey; in the Star Trek universe it's occupying the "big chair". Regardless, there are more parallels than you might think between patrolling a neutral zone in Kanata and being stationed on the edge of the Neutral Zone with the Romulans.
Not a Star Trek fan? Fear not. Simply skip the bold text.
Laurie Boschman (1992-1993) (Archer)
After being ridiculed by Harold Ballard during his time in Toronto, Boschman finally got his chance to lead during Ottawa's historic first season. New to the NHL, the Senators were a dreadful team that frequently encounter new forms of hockey skill while losing 70 games.
Laurie Boschman is Captain Jonathan Archer. Captain of earth's first starship, Archer had long believed that the Vulcans held humans back after First Contact. He finally got his (and humanity's) chance to move forward when he was named captain of United Earth's first starship. While making a few mistakes, Archer and his crew frequently encountered new life forms and new civilizations, making First Contact with more than a dozen species.
Lamb, Shaw, and Dineen shared the captaincy during Ottawa's second season. After a dismal inaugural campaign, the trio oversaw a refit of the Sens lineup, including the additions of marquee rookies Alexandre Daigle and Alexei Yashin. Lamb was traded during the season, Dineen would leave as a free agent in the offseason, and all would quietly fade into Senators history.
Lamb, Shaw, and Dineen are Captain Will Decker. After the conclusion of Captain Kirk's five-year mission, Decker took command of the Enterprise during its refit. However, a crisis threatened earth and Admiral Kirk, touring the refit, took command of the Enterprise demoting Decker to first officer and science officer. When Spock came aboard, Decker was knocked further down the pecking order. He would merge with V-Ger, evolving into a new life form and was officially listed as "missing".
Randy Cunneyworth (1995-1998)
Captain before Ottawa's emergence as contender, Cunneyworth wore the ‘C' for four years with the Senators. A long-time NHLer, Cunneyworth helped guide young players like Alexei Yashin. as the team slowly became respectable. At the end of the 1997-1998, Cunneyworth was let go and his contract wasn't renewed.
Randy Cunneyworth is Captain Christopher Pike. Captain of the Enterprise before Captain Kirk, Pike patrolled the Enterprise bridge for more than a decade, guiding young crew members like a young, junior science officer named Spock to become good officers. Pike was a character in the original 1964 pilot for Star Trek, but when the show began its historic run two years later, Pike had been replaced with Kirk.
Alexei Yashin (1998-1999)
Ottawa's first-ever draft pick, Yashin was an offensively gifted center who excelled on-ice but was embroiled in trouble off of it. The first star in team history, he thrice tried to renegotiate his contract with the Sens, alienating fans. When faced with a no-win scenario (the Senators refusing to honour a trade request) Yashin refused to report. He was tried in the court of public opinion when his dubious donation was cancelled by the NAC.
Alexei Yashin is James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk was a gifted young captain who excelled in the captain's chair but frequently got into trouble. The most famous and decorated captain in Starfleet history, Kirk took the Kobayashi Maru test three times. He reprogrammed the computer on his third try to make it possible to beat the no-win scenario, receiving a commendation for original thinking. Kirk was court martialed in 2267 and was cleared of all charges. He was court martialed again in 2286 for disobeying orders and was reduced in rank from admiral to captain.
"This officer's record shows him to be an insubordinate, unprincipled, career-minded opportunist with a history of violating the chain of command whenever it suited him.... Indeed the record shows that Captain Kirk once held the rank of Admiral and that Admiral Kirk was broken for taking matters into his own hands in defiance of regulations and the law." - General Chang
Daniel Alfredsson (1999-2013)
The gold standard of Ottawa Senators captains, Alfredsson wore the ‘C' for Ottawa during 13 NHL seasons. The franchise's glory years came during his reign and he battled against the assimilating force that is the Toronto Maple Leafs, facing the team four times in the playoffs. During the 14 years he was captain, he helped dispel the belief that Europeans lacked the necessary qualities to lead in the NHL.
Daniel Alfredsson is Jean-Luc Picard. The gold standard of Enterprise captains, Picard was captain of the Enterprise-D for seven years and the Enterprise-E for another seven (at least). He battled the assimilationist force that is the Borg on four occasions, defeating them on three occasions. During his time on the Enterprise-D, he dispelled the Q Continuum's belief that humanity wasn't ready to explore the universe.
Jason Spezza (2013-2014)
A phenom in junior, Spezza was a much-hyped prospect when the Senators drafted him second overall in 2001. Despite his obvious talent, his career in Ottawa was frequently hampered by injury. He accelerated through the ranks and was promoted to the role of number one centre in 2005, after the lockout. He would hold this position until 2013-2014, when one of his lieutenants, Kyle Turris, took over. He accepted the unenviable task of replacing Daniel Alfredsson in an unwinnable battle against The Sun and ultimately went down with the ship when the Sens missed the playoffs.
Jason Spezza is Captain Rachel Garrett. Garrett entered Starfleet Academy at a very young age and earned her first captaincy in her early 30s. She also frequented sickbay. While defending a Klingon outpost at Narendra III in the middle of a battle with the Romulans, Garrett's ship, the Enterprise-C was pulled into a temporal rift. Garrett and her crew emerged from the rift 22 years in the future and in an alternate timeline. Preparing to return to her own time, she was killed during an attack by a Klingon Bird-of-Prey. Lieutenant Richard Castillo took command of the Enterprise-C, returned the ship to its proper place, and restored the timeline.
*Spezza is still captain, but I wanted to include him anyway!