Inaugural Spring Members Summit Recap

Guest writer Kevin Lee gives us his take on the Sens’ recent season-ticket holder event

Inaugural Spring Members Summit Recap

Editor‘s note: Friend of the blog Kevin Lee attended yesterday‘s season ticket-holder event and brings us a first-person account of the festivities.

The Ottawa Senators continue to make an effort to build their season ticket holder (STH) base; one of the big asks by that group was more exclusive events. In preparation for the 2024-25 season, the team decided to start a new annual spring event called the Spring Members Summit on June 12th. Just over a thousand STHs attended, and this is how things went down:

The event began with STHs getting to enter through the employee entrance via the loading dock, the same entrance which the players take. This includes the LED backdrop which we frequently see used by the Sens social media as players enter pre-game.


STHs were also given the opportunity to tour both the visitor and home dressing rooms. I only visited the visitor side, opting to skip the long line for the home one. The visitor weight room was actually pretty impressive and is the current weight room being used by Sens players that currently reside in Ottawa (reasoning behind this to come later in the article).

Visitor Weight Room
Visitor Weight Room

The part that stuck out about the visitor room is how small the shower and washroom sections are. Definitely not making any effort at keeping the opposition comfortable.

Upon entering ice level, Zack MacEwen was actually on hand to greet fans which was a pleasant surprise.

STHs then got to jump into the meat of the event, a Q&A hosted by Gord Wilson and Dean Brown with Dave Poulin for the hockey side and Cyril Leeder for the business side. I'll be including what I considered to be the most important discussion points from this.

The Q&A started with the hockey side with Poulin, and the first topic was coaching. On Travis Green "everyone was contacted and very interested in the position". He mentioned meeting several high profile candidates in neutral locations and leaving the buildings they met in at different times in order to not have anything leak. The depth of detail he demonstrated over other candidates is what sold the Sens on Travis Green. Poulin says he's really grown as a teacher learning from both success and failures.

Poulin then moved on to Daniel Alfredsson, throwing heaping praise on him for what he did last season as an assistant coach. "I could not be more impressed. The way he handles himself.". Mentioned Alfredsson would be in the coaching room at 7:00AM the next day after a game reviewing tape. Another tid bit was finding out Alfredsson isn't interested in a head coaching position until he can get 3-4 years under his belt of serving as an assistant.

He also confirmed that Mike Yeo will be running the PP, with Nolan Baumgartner running the PK. Alfredsson will be supporting them both, with Ben Sexton also being behind the bench. Four assistants versus the three they had last season.

Poulin talked prospects and the draft afterwards and how the players a couple spots in can end up outperforming the top picks, pointing to potential examples in Tim Stutzle and Jake Sanderson. The biggest bit of information he was able to provide is the team not being opposed to moving the 7th overall pick.

Signs continue to point to Michael Andlauer investing in this team. The team had originally planned to just revamp the medical room especially with the advancement in sports science. This quickly grew. The team is now updating the team gym, expected to be complete in time for training camp, with it being a new state of the art gym (thus the usage of the visitor weight room by players residing in town currently). The coaches’ offices are also being expanded.

The team wanted to give STHs first crack at hearing a breaking announcement before releasing the details via social media. Angus Crookshank has signed a new contract (expected as he was an RFA), and Poulin made sure to point out he will push for an NHL spot next season.

Poulin mentioned having pillars on this team that people strive for. Starts with Brady Tkachuk. Then Stützle from a pure talent standpoint and Sanderson on defence.

He also discussed the goaltending, and admitted they didn't perform to management's expectation, and added "I don't think the goaltending tandem is happy with the goaltending tandem.". Mentioned a lot of outside factors potentially affecting Joonas Korpisalo's season (new city, first child, bad defence, etc), and also didn't rule out running the same duo next season (which I'd expect, he's not going to publicly lower their trade value). Poulin promises "Our goaltending will be better next season".

We then moved on to the business side with Leeder. One random note I'll make, and it's tough to tell from the picture, but it seems like the team may have improved their video equipment, because the live video on the jumbotron was definitely sharper than I remember.

Leeder began by highlighting speeding up how fast fans can get in the building by bringing in new metal detectors which allow fans to keep their keys and cell phones in their pockets. They bring fans in at a 47x faster rate. Also mentioned bringing in more points of sale for food and ushers which anyone who attended the games last year probably noticed. For me, it was nice seeing ushers at every entrance as it made one remember of the better days when it didn't seem like the business side was on a trim budget.

One interesting note Leeder mentioned was that the team had gotten complaints from the league about their on-ice lighting. This would explain the upgrade last season, and the team is even improving on that for next season, so expect an even brighter experience if you attend a game.

To build on the investment by ownership, the team is replacing all the elevators for next season. This also points to the team not planning to move anytime soon, as he briefly discussed a future arena and how big a project it would be. He also teased some surprises that will be in store for the home opener next season.

A big reveal was that the Sens are going all in on the digital landscape next season with Sens 360, a new platform with unparalleled behind the scenes access. The team is also making an effort to connect more with the francophone community, planning to host their intrasquad training camp game in Gatineau. Also quickly mentioned about the city hosting the WJC and that the CTC will be sold out of all 18 games.

The Sens continue to work at improving egress, with the biggest project being able to have the parking lot directly merge with the 417. Started last season. Working with everyone from the city to the MTO. Unfortunately haven't been able to convince the MTO which is the last barrier to completing this.

With the move to Fanatics next season for the on-ice jerseys, Leeder confirmed they would have no changes. Sens are in a queue to get a new jersey in 2025-26. It will be a red jersey. Tight timeline though, so not guaranteed. Latest would be 20-26-27.

Sens will be making an effort to add more healthy food options next season. Joked that 10 years ago, healthy food options wouldn't have been on anyone's mind. Testing out new options like jerk chicken, chicken teriyaki, a Tex Mex bowl, a plant based burger, a plant based Italian meatball hogie.

To end the Q&A we got a brief update from the vice president of marketing Jeff Harrop and the vice president of ticket sales Brendan Du Vall.

Harrop began by mentioning the game presentation team has been working at an industry wide event that involves every major league (e.g. NBA, MLB, etc) and taking learnings from that. Confirmed the team will have a new intro video next year and to expect bigger and better theme nights.

To build on improving the digital experience, the CTC will have a brand new website next season. Investing a lot in the customer service portion that will also connect to the Sens website. Will be making food options available to see online. This is a welcome change for anyone who's visited the CTC website recently and seen the number of outdated or dead links.

Sens are seeing double digit growth on social media, thus the investment in Sens 360 to giving better content to the fans. Pre and post game shows, interviews, etc. More to come on this digital platform in the near future.

Du Vall then jumped in with a ticketing update. Began by thanking STHs and showing some impressive numbers for a team that missed playoffs. 4th highest paid admission increase in the NHL and a record year in single game sales which resulted in 19 sold out games. Team is currently in the high 80s in terms of STH renewals and also seeing a 20% STH increase.

And that wrapped up the Q&A portion. STHs were provided free hot dogs (with veggie dogs available as well) with pop/water to eat which was a pleasant surprise.

The evening ended with the largest liquidation sale in the history of the team. Some of the deals were insane like $25 for the RR 2.0 Adidas player jerseys. Here's a small sample of what some of the pricing was like.

All the proceeds from the Alfredsson merch sold went to his charity of choice, SALUS Ottawa.

The sale was so popular it took most fans 1-2 hours to checkout. The team did announce this will be a recurring event, so I'm excited to see what they have in store for next year! As a STH it's definitely nice getting more of these exclusive events, and helps keep the good vibes going.

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