Senators president Cyril Leeder spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon and addressed the cancellation of Wednesday night's game after the incidents which took place at Parliament Hill. Here's what he had to say...
We're all shocked and saddened by what happened here yesterday. We think it was obviously the appropriate thing to do for the League to cancel the game and we supported that decision. Now our leaders, our Prime Minister, our Premier, our Mayor are asking us to move forward and help with the healing process. We're hopeful that hockey can help in some small way to help the community move forward.
On plans moving forward:
At Saturday's game there will be a couple of things before the game. There will be a special ceremony, there will be a very special anthem presentation as part of that. From a security point of view, we will have enhanced security for Saturday's game. We have been proactive over the past couple of years, implementing metal detectors at each gate and bag searches. We'll obviously be doing that at full throttle, everybody that will be coming in with a bag will be checked. Everybody will be going through the wanding and the metal detecting at the game. We'll open doors a half hour earlier just to give everyone more time and make sure we're able to get everybody through in an orderly fashion. I think like everybody else we'll be more vigilant, we really have to be more aware of what's going on around us and people coming to the building. We started that yesterday at about 10:30, we had people at all of our doors, checking people coming in. There will be an enhanced security presence for sure on Saturday for sure.
On if there approach will be similar to that of Boston in 2012:
There are some similarities. Talking to the League, by chance their chief of security was in town for a regular visit yesterday, we were able to spend some time with them and get feedback. We'll be applying some similar measures.
On if there will be plans to honour yesterday's event over the course of the season:
Yes, there will be some but we'll talk about those more moving forward.
On hockey being part of the healing process:
When this happens obviously hockey takes a back seat. It really is secondary when a tragic incident like this occurs, but hockey is important to Canadians, important to our community here and we think we'll be an important part of that moving forward process for the community.
On the Senators being further effected by their military support:
I've talked to Eugene regularly over the last 24 hours, he's obviously quite upset over what has happened and more determined than ever to do a great job on our military appreciation. We do the one night and we do it every game. We want to make sure we do it right and had some specific asks for us to make sure we deliver on it.
On Hockey Fights Cancer night:
We've rescheduled the Leafs game, the new game will be 6 p.m. on November 9. Hockey Fights Cancer will be the Chicago game on October 30.
On the Senators having games cancelled due to tragic incidents:
In Boston we were involved when the Marathon Bombing took place. As I said earlier, we've been proactive the last couple of years. You want to be ahead of something like this in your venue. We have taken steps and I think sometimes fans felt we were inconveniencing them for no reason but we believed that was the appropriate action the last few years to be checking bags and wanding people as they enter the building. We'll continue to do that and have an enhanced security presence.
On if the club would install walkthrough metal detectors:
Never say never but at this point we haven't gone that far. I think we have the wands which is less obtrusive for the fan but still does the job and is highly effective and works well.
The other thing we're asking fans to do as part of the tribute is to wear red to honour our soldiers.
On the gestures in American cities:
I thought they were spectacular, it really was classy. This morning the first call I got was from the Montreal Canadiens and I thought that was a real great gesture. They want to be helpful and work with us to do an appropriate recognition on Saturday as well.
On the organization having a role in lifting Ottawa's spirits:
I think so, as I said, hockey is important here and we have a role to play in helping the community move forward after the tragedy.