Accompanied by 30 Grade 4 students from St. Anne Catholic School in Kanata, Ont., Melnyk highlighted and acknowledged the continued support that happens in the stands at every home game. “We have the greatest hockey fans in the world, bar none,” said Melnyk. “They have stood behind this team through the victories and through the rough patches, and I want to personally thank the fans for all their support – particularly this season.
“We have consistently averaged over 19,000 fans per game and are ranked seventh in NHL attendance this year,” added the Senators owner. “And we shattered every attendance record during the recent world junior championship. So today is about thanking our fans and finding a way to do even more for our fans.”
“Eugene met with our management group and tasked us to identify more ways to make the Senators accessible to our fans during these difficult economic times,” said Cyril Leeder, the club’s chief operating officer. “He challenged us to create additional programs to emphasize our goal of making Sens Fans First.”
While Leeder noted that the Sens Fans First program will be launched on Tuesday, Feb. 3, Melnyk wanted to announce two of the components today.
“The first initiative is the Future Fans Pak,” said Leeder. “For 13 of our remaining home games, we will designate a total of 10,000 seats for minor hockey players, students and their families. Childrens’ tickets will be available for $20, and that will include a game ticket, hot dog and drink. Parents can get the same ticket for just $29”. The Senators owner distributed Future Fans Paks today to the 250 kids watching practice with him.
The second Sens Fans First initiative will invite fans to five open Saturday practices. The dates include Feb. 7, Feb. 28, March 7, March 21 and April 4. “Even with all of our programs to provide affordable tickets, we know there are still some fans that cannot afford to come to games. These practices will provide those fans with an opportunity to see their team up close,” said Leeder.
Parking and admission is free for the five Saturday open practices and fans can enter Scotiabank Place through Gate 1, with doors opening at 10 a.m. for the morning skate, which starts at 10:30 a.m. Activities will include face painting and tattoos, t-shirt giveaways and free Senators poster for the first 500 children in attendance. Non-perishable food items will be accepted for the Ottawa Food Bank.