If you had lingered around the ice at Scotiabank Place on Friday after the Sens left the ice, you would have seen the 20 or so NHLers replaced on the ice with a much larger, noisier contingent of individuals as the ninth annual Eugene Melnyk Skate for Kids got underway.
The yearly event, which brings youth in from across the Ottawa region, allows the Sens owner to donate skates and helmets to many local children who wouldn't have the opportunity to obtain them otherwise. It is an afternoon of fun for many deserving kids.
After a series of "Go Sens Go!" chants throughout the Sens' practice session the kids were fired up and ready to hit the ice, just like their hockey heroes.
From the official release...
A group of close to 90 youngsters from St. Rose of Lima School and Bayshore Public School in Ottawa were chosen to take part in the latest edition of this annual event. The children were welcomed to Scotiabank Place by Mr. Melnyk, treated to a meal and the opportunity to watch the Senators practice before taking to the ice for an afternoon skate.
Mr. Melnyk, along with CTV Ambassador Max Keeping, Spartacat and members of the Ottawa Senators staff, provided each participant with a Senators jersey, a helmet and a new pair of skates. All of the items were donated to the children by the Senators owner.
Since the inaugural Eugene Melnyk Skate for Kids in 2004, more than 850 helmets and pairs of skates and helmets have been distributed to youth throughout the region.
It was a great turnout at the event today with an appearance by Spartacat amidst the groups of children and volunteers. A successful afternoon for the ninth edition of the event. After nine years and hundreds of children benefitting from the festivities, Mr. Melnyk says that the opportunity to put a smile on a child's face is the real pleasure of the event.
"It's a great feeling to be able to do this. This is the ninth year we're doing this and we've put over 600 kids through this skate over the last nine years," said Mr. Melnyk. "To see the faces of these children, dreaming the dream. It's just a great pleasure for me to do this."
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