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Ottawa Senators Appoint Nicolas Ruszkowski as COO

The Ottawa native will be joining the Sens’ front office.

2005 National Hockey League Draft Photo By Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators have announced a change to their front office today, bringing in Nicolas Ruszkowski to serve as Chief Operating Officer. The team has gone through a myriad of changes in the past year, losing founding member Cyril Leeder in August of 2017 and replacing his CEO position with Tom Anselmi, only to see Anselmi leave in early 2018 with franchise owner Eugene Melnyk taking over his duties.

Ruszkowski, who was born and raised in Ottawa, has a myriad of experience in public relations, having previously worked for PR & digital marketing agency FleishmanHillard as General Manager, and for The Ottawa Hospital in Communications & Outreach. Most recently, he was Executive Vice President, Strategy and Growth for MSL, a “global public relations and integrated communications partner.”

Now is as important a time as ever for the Senators to be expanding their front office, as they continue to work with the city of Ottawa on negotiations for Lebreton Flats. Having someone with such a strong background in PR can only be good for a franchise and owner that have been, shall we say, lacklustre in this area. In a year marred by waning interest, a team that was out of the playoff race a month into the season, owner Eugene Melnyk threatening to move the team, trade rumours involving the face of the franchise, a public campaign to get the owner to sell, and a newly-leaked story that both the team’s longest-serving captain and the mayor of Ottawa want Melnyk gone, this team will need all the help it can get in the PR department. Getting the team back in the good books of Mayor Watson and the National Capital Commission will be important for moving forward with Lebreton negotiations. Convincing fans to still come out to games and buy merchandise will be a tall order.

Melnyk is betting on a local man with an extensive resume to try to rebuild some faith with the fanbase and chart a new course for the Sens as a business. I’m curious to see how it goes.