The Ottawa Senators' community efforts received the ultimate compliment tonight.
At its annual gala, United Way Ottawa presented the Senators with its Community Builder of the Year Award in recognition of the organization's numerous contributions to the community.
“The Ottawa Senators Hockey Club has worked extensively with dozens of organizations to improve the quality of life for children and youth in our city and beyond,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson in detailing the achievement. “Our city owes the club a tremendous debt of gratitude for its contributions to our community. Their commitment and dedication to helping others is inspiring.”
Since 1998, the Senators, in partnership with alumni, corporate sponsors and the team's fans, have raised more than $55 million to support hundreds of projects within the city. Many of them are on-ice programs which provide support for needy children and youth, while also promoting the values of fair play and respect for others.
In the past year, the Senators' support has helped programs such as Equipment For Kids and Canadian Tire Jumpstart's I Love To Skate provide opportunities for disadvantaged youth and children in the community. The Senators and the Sens Foundation are also active fundraisers for Roger's House, youth mental health awareness, children's heathcare and a number of other vital causes.
In all, 11 outstanding individuals or groups were honoured by the United Way at its gala tonight.
“There is a true spirit of community building in this city, and it is our distinct privilege every year to honour the special people and organizations that bring this spirit to life,” said Michael Allen, president/CEO of United Way Ottawa. “Tonight, we come together to recognize the work of 11 Community Builder of the Year Award recipients — individuals, corporations, public institutions and community service agencies — whose work contributes to profound change in the lives of thousands of people in our city. They lead by example, and show all of us what can be done by those who make service to others part of the work they do every single day.”