|Senators Sports & Entertainment president Cyril Leeder addresses graduates of Algonquin College's School of Business after receiving an Honorary Diploma during the spring commencement ceremony held Wednesday at the new Ottawa Convention Centre (Photo by Jana Chytil/Imagine Inc.).
Algonquin College has bestowed a special honour upon the president of Senators Sports & Entertainment.
At the spring convocation ceremony for nearly 400 graduates of its School of Business, the college presented Cyril Leeder with an Honorary Diploma. The distinction is awarded to individuals who "have made a difference in the lives of our students and our college community," the school said in a release.
Leeder, a native of Brockville, Ont., who also addressed the students during the ceremony held at the new Ottawa Convention Centre, expressed gratitude for the honour.
"Ottawa has been my home for 30 years now and it's an honour to be given this award and have the opportunity to share my passion for sport and business with these graduating business students," said Leeder, who was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario — the group's highest honour — in July 2009.
"These students are our future and being able to serve as their keynote speaker and share my experiences and life lessons with them is both humbling and rewarding."
Leeder has been an integral part of the Senators organization since the modern franchise began its operation in 1992. From that year through 1998, he served as president of Palladium Corporation, which implemented the design, financing and construction of Scotiabank Place, which opened its doors in January 1996. After serving as COO of the building (1996-2002) and the Senators (2002-09), he was promoted to his current role two years ago.
In addition, Leeder is director and a founding member of the Ottawa Community Ice Partnership, which developed and built the Bell Sensplex in Kanata in conjunction with the City of Ottawa. The facility began operation in December 2004 and Leeder later spearheaded the constructon of the Cavanagh Sensplex in nearby Kinburn.
Away from the ice, Leeder is member of the board of directors and oversaw the creation of the Sens Foundation, the organization's charitable arm, which has raised more than $60 million to support community initiatives since 1998. He also serves as chairman of the Bell Capital Cup, the world's premier atom and peewee hockey tournament, and is a volunteer board member in various capacities for the Convention Centre, the National Arts Centre and Algonquin's sport management program.
As well, Leeder has worked tirelessly to help bring major sporting events to Ottawa and Scotiabank Place, including the record-setting 2009 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, the 2012 NHL All-Star Game and the 2013 IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship.