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New Bell HD Screen lights up Scotiabank Place

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Jason Spezza of the Senators and the Canadiens' Lars Eller line up for a faceoff underneath the Bell HD Screen, which made its debut at Scotiabank Place. Four videoboards are currently operational, with the rest of the new structure to be completed in time for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29 (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images).

A new era in game entertainment has officially arrived at Scotiabank Place.

With a huge roar of approval just before puck drop, the 20,500 in attendance for the game between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens were treated to the first game-night images on the Bell HD Screen — the latest and greatest addition to the capital's premier sports and entertainment venue.

As the four 15.75 by 21 foot high-definition screens sprang to life, captain Daniel Alfredsson led off a video introduction with a thought shared by many — "Thanks for the screen, Eugene," a reference to this Christmas gift to Senators fans by team owner Eugene Melnyk, who was in the house tonight to witness the unveiling of Scotiabank Place's newest high-tech toy.

Crews from Panasonic worked feverishly through the Christmas weekend to remove the arena's old scoreboard before beginning the assembly an installation of the Bell HD Screen's main videoboards. They're four times larger than the previous system, with a resolution that's nine times better.

The remaining displays on the Bell HD Screen, including rings at the top and bottom of the new arena showpiece, will be fully installed in time for the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, set for Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place.

Once complete, the Bell HD Screen will include 2,170 feet of LED viewing space. That's a 700 per cent increase over the former videoboard, which was installed in 2000. The new centre-hung videoboard is being made possible by a partnership involving the Senators, Bell and Scotiabank, with Panasonic supplying the technology.

The Senators return to action Friday at home against the Calgary Flames (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200) before closing out the calendar year the following night in Buffalo versus the Sabres (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).

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