OTTAWA -- For Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris and his wife, Julie, there was love in the air at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday, and it not just because it was Valentine's Day.
The couple hosted the Capital City Condors, a hockey organization devoted to children with developmental disabilities, in five suites as part of the NHL's Hockey Is For Everyone month. Turris took over the role of Condors honorary captain from former Senators defenseman Matt Carkner.
"Matt Carkner introduced us to the Condor family and we fell in love with them immediately," Turris said. "It's such an amazing group of families, not just the kids, the parents and siblings, too. It's such an unbelievable environment. It really opened our eyes and showed us how much love there is and how much love there should be at the rink.
"They've taught my wife and me a lot more than we've been able to show them. It's just a really special relationship. To be able to see them and see how genuine and carefree they are at the rink, and how much pure happiness they have, those are things that my wife and I try and remember and they remind us every time we see them."
"A night like tonight is always extra special," Condors president and co-founder Jim Perkins said. "Their friendship with the kids is so deep. One of our players was asked in an interview, 'Who's your favorite superstar on the Senators?' and she mentioned another player. Her mom said, 'Why is so-and-so your favorite player? What about Kyle?' and the girl said, 'Kyle is my friend.' How do you quantify what that does for a kid?"
Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki also had guests at the game. Along with his wife, Tara, they purchased two season tickets for Soldier On, a Canadian Armed Forces Program that helps active military personnel and veterans overcome physical or mental health issues through physical activity and sport. The Borowieckis host a member of Solider On at each Senators home game.
"It's been amazing for me. It's been a real pleasure meeting these people," Borowiecki said. "I've heard some amazing stories, met some great people, salt of the earth people, I think, which is pretty cool. I just really enjoy it. I always tell them, yeah, it's cool for them and a cool experience, and I take just as much pleasure out of meeting these people, and it's kind of a chance to give back."