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Aaron Robinson earns Forty Under 40 honour

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Aaron Robinson, the Senators' director and fan and community development and general manager of the Bell Capital Cup, receives his award from Pavel Bogdanov, president of sponsor Ottawa Flowers, during the Ottawa Business Journal's Forty Under 40 gala at the Hilton Lac-Leamy on Thursday night (OBJ Photo).

He’s the man who makes the Bell Capital Cup go.

For that and everything else he does on behalf of the Ottawa Senators organization, Aaron Robinson has been selected by Ottawa Business Journal as one of its Forty Under 40 for 2009. The paper annually honours a group of “successful, dynamic and community-minded business leaders” under the age of 40.

Robinson, the Senators’ director of fan and community development, is best known for his work with the Bell Capital Cup. As the event’s general manager for the past six years, he has been a driving force in an event that, in 2007, became the “world’s largest hockey tournament” in the esteemed eyes of the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Aaron has been a key contributor to Senators Sports & Entertainment for a number of years,” said Cyril Leeder, the chief operating officer of Senators Sports & Entertainment and founder of the Bell Capital Cup.

“He brings passion, professionalism and commitment to everything he does. Nowhere has that been more evident than in his work in developing the Bell Capital Cup into the world’s largest – and best – hockey tournament.”

It is truly a labour of love for the 35-year-old Robinson.

“Every facet of (the Bell Capital Cup) is demanding and very tough, but it’s also very rewarding when you see the kids at the end and their joy in winning a championship,” he said. “There’s also the charity end of it. We know we contribute more than $200,000 each year to minor hockey and local charities.

“To see the city come together and make it such a success is hugely rewarding.”

The tournament’s overall contribution to the capital region – and Robinson’s role in that success – impressed OBJ’s Forty Under 40 selection committee.

“There are two key things that stood out on Aaron’s nomination for Forty Under 40,” said Ottawa Business Journal publisher Michael Curran, who also chairs the awards selection committee. “First, the sheer accomplishment of organizing an event of the magnitude of the Bell Capital Cup and the economic impact it has on Ottawa. The logistics are mind-boggling with 485 teams and the economics of contributing $13.3 million to business is very significant.

“But beyond the numbers, the selection committee was very impressed with Aaron’s strong desire to leverage the Bell Capital Cup to help local charities and minor hockey. In a nutshell, that’s what Forty Under 40 is all about – bottom-line success and giving back. Aaron exemplifies that.”

"The selection committee was very impressed with Aaron's strong desire to leverage the Bell Capital Cup to help local charities and minor hockey. In a nutshell, that's what Forty Under 40 is all about – bottom-line success and giving back. Aaron exemplifies that." - Michael Curran
Robinson, who will hit the 10-year mark with the Senators organization next month, said he is “pretty honoured” to receive recognition from OBJ. But he quickly added, “from my own point of view, it’s an organizational distinction more than an individual award.”

“It demonstrates the support and commitment Senators management and staff has to giving back to our community,” said Robinson. “I’m fortunate to be in a position that I thoroughly enjoy, with an organization that has allowed me to grow professionally and assist in making our community a better place to live.

“It comes down to the kids. When you see the smiles on kids’ faces, you know you’re making an impact on the community and making the community a better place.”

All of the OBJ Forty Under 40 recipients will be honoured at a gala dinner at the Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel in Gatineau tonight. For more information, log on to

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