- For the sixth consecutive year, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, in partnership with the Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa (CAYFO), hosted more than 100 children from Centennial Public School and Queen Elizabeth Public School earlier today at Scotiabank Place.
The children were welcomed by Melnyk, then the whole group took to the ice for a holiday skate. Afterward, the children were treated to a luncheon in the Local Heroes Hockey Country Lodge.
Melnyk, along with Max Keeping, Spartacat, and members of the Ottawa Senators alumni, presented each participant with early Christmas presents, including a Senators jersey, a helmet, and a brand new pair of skates all donated by Melnyk.
“Many of these children have never been on skates before. It’s a chance for them to experience something special by skating on the same ice as their heroes,” said Melnyk. “The children here today come from families representing over 30 countries. It really shows us how diverse the youth are in our community. This event provides all of them with a chance to start the holiday season with a truly Canadian tradition of experiencing the joy of skating.”
“Mr. Melnyk every Christmas wants to make 100 kids know that they are very special. You're the 100 kids that he says he wants to make feel very special today,” said Max Keeping, honorary chair of the Sens Foundation. “So the gifts that Mr. Melnyk has for you is a gift that says you should have the best Christmas holiday season in 2009, and he's going to do his best to make that for you.”
CAYFO is a dynamic not-for-profit youth organization that has focused its attention on providing the very best services to the young people of Canada’s capital city since 1997. It works on the promotion of youth engagement and volunteering, and manages some of the best youth awards programs, youth leadership programs and conferences in Canada. It has spearheaded innovative anti-bullying and victimization projects and has helped children at risk. CAYFO has also bridged the generations, promoted partnerships, encouraged young people to excel and celebrated this excellence.