1920x1080 Hitting the Jackp-ott SENS CHIRP

This weeks JackpotCity Hitting the JackpOTT Fan Profile is SensChirp! Get to know Dave as he talks through some of his all-time favourite Sens memories, and his must-have snacks while watching a Sens game!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

Well, my name is Dave. I enjoy sunsets and long walks on the beach. Oh and about 17 years ago, people also started calling me SensChirp. I am the shadowy anonymous figure that runs the site at SensChirp.ca, which for the better part of two decades, has been one of the weirdest and wildest Sens-related communities you’ll find anywhere on the internet.

What does being a Sens fan mean to you?

More than anything, I think it means being a part of something bigger than yourself. Something that in both the good times and bad, has this unique power to bring people together. To unite family, friends and in some cases, otherwise strangers in the pursuit of a common goal that is completely out of our hands. See, I think it’s good for the soul to emotionally invest in things that you can’t control.

Where is your favourite place to watch the game?

It’s pretty hard to beat the front row of the 300 level or one of those really comfortable red chairs in Club Bell or a bar stool at The Senate Tavern but as I grow older, I find that my favourite place to watch a game is with my two daughters. And it really doesn’t matter where.

What is your coolest experience at a game, where was it?

Oh geez, don’t make me choose. The birth of the Pageau chant against the Habs in Game 3. I was there. The various OT winners by Kyle Turris against the Rangers. I was there for both of those actually. My daughter’s first ever game, when she was four-years old fittingly enough, was the Pageau playoff game. Double overtime and she stayed for the whole thing. I watched the Alfredsson shorthanded tying goal/Greening overtime winner from something called the Wiser’s Box. They don’t stop serving in there and let’s just say, we set a record that night. I once stood up and cheered for a Sens goal, in the third period of a Game 7, at Madison Square Garden. It’s pretty tough to match that level of excitement and fear. See, I have always thought of Sens fandom as this lifelong exercise in collecting moments, and I have been pretty fortunate to see some incredible ones over the years.

What's your must-have snack while watching a game?

Is draught beer at the game a snack? Because I’m a SUCKER for those things. Please don’t tell the people running concessions at the CTC but there is literally no price they could say that would cause me to reconsider my purchase.

What's your favourite piece of Sens merch?

I bought a Claude Giroux home jersey, with a fight strap and everything just in case things get heated at the game, that is basically perfect. Also I bought it during the second intermission of the game where he scored that slapshot breakaway goal so the timing was impeccable. I have a Sens starter jacket, that I also bought during a second intermission, that I will be married in one day. Ya know, there may be a direct correlation between my tendency to make wacky purchases during second intermissions and the “must-have snack” in the previous question.

Do you have any game day superstitions?

Thankfully, as I age, I have started to slowly and painfully accept that there is nothing I can do personally that will have an impact on the game. And believe me, I’ve tried everything. Lucky jerseys going unwashed for years or watching from a certain seat with the remote in an exact spot? Tried ‘em both over and over again but with limited success. I once burned my cherished Vaclav Varada jersey in the lead-up to the playoffs, convinced that it would serve as a sacrifice to the hockey gods. It only angered them more, as Ottawa was swept that year. Nothing works. Oh that’s not true actually, eating only hamburgers for a few months back in 2015 seemed to do the trick.

If you could invent a Sens player, what parts of which player (past or present) would you include? What is their name and number?

He would be a goalie. One of the most talented of all time and single-handedly capable of carrying the team to the Stanley Cup. His number would be 39 and his name would be Dominik Hasek and he would have all the parts of Dominik Hasek, except he would have the adductor of literally any other human.

Who is your favourite Sens player and why?

For the last decade or so, I would always default to the players that were older than me but due to the gradual passage of time, that has become increasingly difficult/impossible. Now I’ll say Brady Tkachuk because he’s Norah and Emma’s favourite. Although for some reason, Emma calls him Barney Tickletrunk.

Who is your favourite Sens influencer?

Easy one. It’s Norah. Have you ever read “Norah’s Notes”? The kid is going places. A published article and a CBC interview, both before the age of 10. The SensChirp Empire will be Norah’s one day.

What is your all-time favourite Sens memory?

I like that this is a separate question from “coolest experience at a Game” because really, I do see them as different things. I have a few I’d like to share…

-It was the morning after the Senators had been eliminated in Game 7 by the Buffalo Sabres. The year was 1997 and at the age of 11, I was feeling heartbreak for the first time. That Derek Plante shot went through Ron Tugnutt’s glove, pierced my soul and trickled into the Ottawa net. My Dad, a Sens fan himself, came up with an idea to cheer me up. We drove down to rink and parked just outside the player’s entrance. And just waited there. For hours, from what I recall. Until finally, they arrived. Lance Pitlick was the first player to stop to say hi. Wade Redden arrived later. Pitlick made a snowball out of the snow the zamboni left behind and threw it at Redden. He blamed it on me. We all laughed. Moments later, we caught a glimpse of Alexei Yashin and Radek Bonk. In those moments, Game 7 was a distant memory.

-The biggest game in franchise history and for some reason, I had decided that watching it with non-hockey fans was the way to go. The stakes were so high heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, that I couldn’t handle the idea of being around people that were pretending to care. The play looked like nothing at first but in an instant, Daniel Alfredsson turned that 1 on 3 into biggest goal in Sens history. I remember running outside, finishing what was left of my beer and calling my Dad. “They did it”. It was all either of us could say. My Dad isn’t really an emotional guy but I swear that the silence that followed, I could hear him choking up a little bit. He’d deny it to this day though. I can’t wait to make that call again when they win the Cup some day. The five or six hours that followed are a bit of a blur but I woke up with a chipped tooth and red paint all over me (because I hit the dance floor with SensSquatch, apparently).

-Norah was four at the time. I’ve made some questionable parenting decisions in my life but bringing my kid to a second round playoff game is right up there. Yet I don’t regret it at all. The first time Ottawa scored, I thought she’d never forgive me. The sound in that rink was so loud that day that even I was a little uncomfortable. It must have been on another level for her. She cried and cried and cried. Yet when Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his third of the night, tying the game, and sending the CTC into a frenzy unlike anything I’d ever seen, there she was, standing…clapping…smiling. It’s hard to tell if my Sens fandom is going to transfer to my daughter (she’s still a little pissed about the Karlsson trade) but I’ll always remember the look on her face after that tying goal.

-There must have been 15 of us. Another biggest game in franchise history and a bunch of guys got together to watch it at a friend’s place. I often agonize over where to watch playoff games, convinced that the decision I make will have an impact on the result. Game 7’s are hard enough but with a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Final on the line, this was on another level. It ended up being one of the most devastating nights in franchise history. I still can’t watch the highlights. But oddly enough, I’ll always remember the sound in that basement when Ryan Dzingel tied the game late. I don’t really understand the noise I made but it was like 20 plus years of bottled up frustration and hope coming out all at once. My attachment to the team has evolved over the years but there was something about that 2017 team that brought out the kid in me again. That group had a soul that reminded me why I invest so much into this team. It’s those moments where you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. I want to get back there. I need to get back there.

Where can other fans find you (if you want to plug your socials)?

Either at SensChirp.ca or on Twitter at @SensChirp or at the game, with the SensChirp logo somewhere on my head. And if they play their cards right, I’ll be working for the Ottawa Senators one day. Thanks for reading and Go Sens Go.