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Sens extend minor hockey support

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Minor hockey remains a major concern for the Ottawa Senators.

The organization offered further proof of that Thursday when it unveiled an extensive list of minor hockey initiatives for the 2008-09 season. Most significantly, the Senators will hold a Minor Hockey Week for a second straight season, with the latest celebration set for Jan. 10 to 18.

Featured that week: The first of two open Senators gameday practices on Jan. 10, when Ottawa faces the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Place (the second is Feb. 7) and a variety of specialty coaching clinics. The team's skating instructor, Marc Power, will also offer his services to coaches that week through power skating clinics.

Minor Hockey Week concludes with the popular Sens Skills competition, presented by Bell, on Oct. 18. It supports Roger's House and the Easter Seals of Ottawa, in conjunction with the Sens Foundation and the National Hockey League Players' Association's Goals and Dreams fund.

In a new initiative, the Senators announced today they'll sponsor three Kanata Girls Hockey Association teams: The senior squad, which competes in the Canadian Women's Hockey League; the club's intermediate (Under-21) team, and its midget showcase team. They'll all wear Sens colours and carry the Ottawa Senators name with them onto the ice.

The intermediate team includes four players -- Stefanie McKeough, Jamie Lee Rattray, Isabel Menard and Cassie Seguin -- who'll represent Canada at the 2009 IIHF World Women's Under-18 Championship from Jan. 5 to 10 in Fussen, Germany.

"It's just amazing support for everybody," Rattray said in thanking the Senators for their sponsorship. "It's really great to wear this jersey. Just putting it on before each game is such an honour."

Other Senators and Scotiabank Place minor hockey initiatives this season include the sixth annual Tim Hortons Coaches Clinic, set for Oct. 18; the T.E.A.M. Hockey Country program; Scotiabank Girls Hockeyfest and the Skills First Challenge presented by Bell.

"As an active member of the minor hockey community, we are committed to the growth and development of hockey in the region by providing resources and our assistance in a number of key areas," said Cyril Leeder, COO of the Senators and Scotiabank Place.

"We know that we continue to have some of the most comprehensive minor hockey programs in the (NHL) and we intend on maintaining that position this year and in future years."

More details about all these programs can be found by clicking here.

Senators forward Antoine Vermette (centre) drops a puck between Kanata Girls Hockey Association players Stefanie McKeough (left) and Cassie Seguin after the Sens announced their 2008-09 minor hockey initiatives today. Also pictured are (from left) Senators and Scotiabank Place COO Cyril Leeder, KMHA player Jamie Lee Rattray and vice-president of competitive programming Terry Nichols; Senators general manager Bryan Murray; skating instructor Marc Power, and KMHA player Isabel Menard.

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