Ottawa Senators take steps to preserve the Canadian senate

Inspired by the recent Satire Friday feature here at S7S, I decided I’d do my own satire feature every occasional day that ends in Y. Especially days on which I have less than a lot to do at work.

I was out of ideas, and I figured I'd give this a rest, especially since it was someone else's turn to do a satire Friday. Then I got this package in the mail from a certain Alex Swift, out of which jumped a gun that pointed itself to my head. I got the hint. I admit, this isn't as good as my last two.

For those on this blog who don’t understand Canadian politics at all, the Senate is a place that friends of the Prime Minister get appointed to, they have to show up a few days per year to collect their salary, they can be there until they’re 85, they can’t be forced to leave once appointed, and they actually get a say in what becomes Canadian law. That being said, this post isn’t supposed to be too political, because this isn’t the place for it. It’s more a mockery of the Sens’ ideas for marketing campaigns.

There has been a lot of focus lately on senators in the Canadian media, all of it negative. Be it revelations of spending scandals, complaints about the salaries that senators can rake in even when they don’t show up to work, or suggestions for all-out abolition of the Senate, the picture looks pretty bleak for Canadian senators. However, another type of Senator is trying to do something about this. Senators’ president Cyril Leeder has revealed that the Senators will start an outreach program to try to turn people’s opinions on what he calls "a Canadian icon."

"Abolition of the Canadian senate would be a death sentence for our team," says Leeder. "Our identity is built around being not American and definitely not Toronto. With no more Canadian Senate, how much mockery would we endure? We’d be the only Senators left in Canada. People would joke there were only six Canadian teams again. We’d probably have to change our name to the Mounties or something."

Executive VP and CFO Erin Crowe agrees. "People are saying that the Senate has no place in Canada. What if people get the wrong message, and hear that the Senators have no place in Canada? What if American hockey fans see that headline dance across the little scrolly thingy on their news channel? They’ve heard us talk about our internal budget and not being able to spend to the cap, then they see Canadians don’t want the Senators in Canada, and next thing you know some guy in Seattle is calling [Senators’ owner Eugene] Melnyk about moving the hockey team." When pointed out that American news would never broadcast anything about Canadian politics, and it sounded like they were trying to find ways to avoid actually coming up with good marketing campaigns for the Sens, she responded with, "La la la, I can’t hear you."

The first part of the campaign involves slightly tweaking the Sens’ slogan for the upcoming season. Leeder revealed, "For this upcoming season, we had decided to change from our wildly popular ‘This is hockey country’ slogan to ‘This is Senators’ country.’ We figure we could throw our buddies at the Senate a bone, and do one better: ‘This is Senate country.’ Then people will subliminally start to realize that the Senate is integral to this country, and so are the Ottawa Senators. It’s a win-win."

Other ideas include having a "Senators love senators" (or "senators love Senators") evening, where senators get a buy-one-get-one-free deal on tickets. Word is that senators intend on establishing a Professional Hockey Committee that meets on the same nights as home games, requiring them to be paid for their work in attending the hockey games. Additionally, the Sens are even planning on hiring senators to be mascots for a night. "Think about it," says Leeder. "Look at that Mike Duffy guy. Take away the fact that most people see him as a guy dishonestly stealing taxpayer money. He looks like a great big teddy bear. Who wouldn’t want to see him race across the ice, or send their kids to him for a photo-op? Or that Patrick Brazeau guy. Sure, he got kicked out of the Conservative caucus, but didn’t he do charity boxing sometime? We could offer a "box the mascot" night. It should be a hit with the drunk university student crowd. People will see that senators are really just fun, lovable people. It’s hard to get mad at someone you’ve seen dressed up as a giant submarine sandwich. Plus people love watching old politicians do dumb things to make people laugh."

A quick poll of NHL fans outside Ottawa reveals that not many are familiar with Spartacat, the lion who is the Sens’ current mascot. One Leafs fan respondent said that he thought that the mascot was "some shirtless dude dressed up like a Roman gladiator." A Habs fan named Prandon Brust said that he thought the mascot was a "fat, bug-eyed walrus." Nearly 50% of those polled thought that Sens’ coach impersonator Mike Watson, better known as Paul MacClone, was the official mascot of the Senators. It appears that the Senators could use a more notable mascot to help with their brand recognition around the league. "We’ll still keep Spartacat for the hospital visits and stuff. Kids love a cuddly, happy lion," says Leeder. "But a cuddly lion doesn’t bring people to hockey games. If something besides hockey is going to bring people to a hockey game, it’s gotta be a person with minimal athletic ability attempting to run on ice."

Owner Eugene Melnyk seemed cautiously optimistic (by his standards) about the campaign. "The senators come from all over the country. This kind of campaign could convince them all to abandon their loyalties and become die-hard Sens fans, just in time for the dynasty that Brian Murray promised would follow after the rebuild." When asked about the dangers of some fans not showing up because they see this as a way of helping the rich get richer by paying money to people who many view as already overpaid for a job that doesn’t improve society, Melnyk replied, "Probably not. That’s not really a change from how we’ve run this organization in the past. Wait, are you talking about the players or the guys from the Senate?"

Representatives from the Senate could not be reached for comment, citing ‘important business lunches in Hawaii and Southern France’ as the reason they were unavailable. However, the hope of a symbiotic relationship between the hockey team and their namesake seems positioned to work. It is as of yet unclear as to whether Mike Duffy will dress up as a shirtless gladiator for his turn as mascot.

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