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Meet the Roughnecks

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

With the advent of the playoffs came the arrival of some of the biggest, most hardcore Sens fans in the world to Scotiabank Place. People who had their calendars circled weeks in advance knew they’d have their opportunity to take in playoff hockey despite the Sens’ knack for theatrics, which ensured they didn’t clinch until four days prior to the end of the regular season.

Regina natives Bradey Loos and Dustin Gelinas, two roughnecks, didn’t originally leave Saskatchewan with the intention of catching a Sens playoff game they were coming to help Bradey’s father move. As a token of his appreciation, Dad swore he’d pick up some playoff tickets for them and, lo and behold, he did just that.

It took 34 hours worth of gruelling driving for the pair to make it to Ottawa but they found a way, stopping only for burgers and fuel, and made it in time to catch Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-final between the Sens and Canadiens. It was their first ever Sens game at Scotiabank Place.

Now, typically when your first Sens game features a goal from Daniel Alfredsson, a hat trick from a local rookie, a line brawl and playoff wins, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment later on. Quite frankly, not much gets better than that.

The moment was certainly not lost on Ottawa’s newest visitors.

“It was amazing. The line brawl, the goals, seeing Alfredsson score and Pageau get the hat trick. I haven’t seen anything like that,” said Dustin. “The crowd was electric. I loved it. It was so fun.”

After game, they had just planned on hanging around Ottawa on their trip with Bradey continuing to moonlight as a chauffeur, however, once the Sens caught wind of the guys in town, they made sure they were back in attendance for the all-important fourth game.

The guys had been hanging around Scotiabank Place when Zev Singer of the Ottawa Citizen began speaking to them. The next day they had their names and faces in the newspaper and a phone call from the Senators awaiting them.

“The Sens called, we were in the paper and everything,” said Bradey. “It’s a sweet experience, for sure.”

Flash forward 24 hours after that phone call and they were standing in the Sens MBNA Rewards Lounge and talking hockey amidst a sea of other Sens fans in the Red Zone prior to puck drop. It has been an exciting playoff series and has fans as optimistic as ever.

“When they got in the playoffs I was so pumped,” said Dustin. “I think they could go all the way.”

In fact, both of the guys see the Sens playing for Lord Stanley’s mug later this summer. Their unanimous final prediction? The Sens taking on the San Jose Sharks for the Stanley Cup and Ottawa bringing the Cup back to Canada. With the Sharks punching their ticket through to the next round late Tuesday night and the Sens up 3-1 on Montreal, you could certainly find picks with less inspiration behind them.

As it turned out, Game 4, their second game ever inside Scotiabank Place, wound up being just as epic as Game 3. The Sens battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to win the game on a Kyle Turris wrist shot in overtime to secure the aforementioned third win of the series.

They may have only stepped inside Scotiabank Place twice, but they are batting a proverbial 2-for-2.

If the Sens do go all the way and winning it all, Bradey and Dustin plan on giving up beer for a year, though they said even go as far as scrubbing toilets in Scotiabank Place if it meant showing their appreciation for a Cup win. Between a 34 hour drive and potentially not having a beer for a year, one thing is clear: There are hardcore fans and then there are these guys.

Coincidentally, the message they wanted to send out to the rest of the Sens Army prior to yesterday’s game was as straightforward as you could imagine.

“Go Sens Go”

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