Fans enjoy first look at new scoreboard

Fans enjoy first look at new scoreboard
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

While the Ottawa Senators may have lost 6-2 to the Montreal Canadians on Tuesday night, their fans still had something to cheer about: The scoreboard they had been squinting at since 1996 had finally been replaced by a new, state of the art high-definition screen.

The old scoreboard had been around since the Scotiabank Place opened as the home of the Senators in 1996. While the video screens had been replaced in 2000, fans agreed the scoreboard needed to be replaced.

“I’ve been to a game where the screen went completely black,” Georgina Sloan, a season-ticket holder since the Senators franchise entered the NHL in 1992, said after the first period.

“The old screen did the job for a bit,” six-year season-ticket holder John Woudstra said. “But I would watch other games around the NHL, and I started seeing some of the other screens that were much bigger and brighter. Ours was old.”

The fans can see clearly now, though.

The process to replace the old scoreboard with the new $5-million screen began immediately following the Dec. 22 game against the Florida Panthers. Workers spent the following three days disassembling the old scoreboard and putting together the new one. A combined grand total of 1,762 man-hours have gone into the project as of Tuesday.

The old scoreboard, which had a 300-square foot standard-definition display, would be dwarfed by the new screen, which features a whopping 2,170 square feet of high-definition viewing display: an increase in overall display area of more than 600 per cent.

The new screen also features 2,764,800 six-millimetre pixels, which puts the new scoreboard at nine times the resolution of the previous board, Senators marketing vice-president Jeff Kyle said.

Despite its debut on Tuesday, there’s still work to be done before the scoreboard is completely finished and fully functioning.

In addition to the four, 331-square foot screens, the scoreboard will also feature two 360-degree LED rings above and below the displays. The LED rings are expected to be installed in time for the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game weekend later this month, though the Senators hope to have the rings in operation by the time the team faces the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 16.

The screens will not be ready to broadcast in high definition until after the All-Star Game. During a stretch of road games for the Senators, the technical control rooms will be equipped with high-definition broadcasting signals.

Ronald Wellington, who has been a Senators fan since Day 1 in October 1992, said seeing the new scoreboard made him an even prouder fan.

“You can see better. You can see clear. It’s the best thing the Scotiabank has brought to the arena,” Wellington said. “I’m proud of them for putting it in.”

Senators fan Kyle Godwin was also happy about the change.

“I can actually see the highlights on the screen,” Godwin said.

Shortly after the Canadiens scored their fifth goal of the night on the way to a 6-2 victory, Godwin changed his mind, though.

“Maybe I don’t want to see it so clearly.”

Besides the Senators’ loss, there was one other hiccup: The brand-new scoreboard went blank for about 45 seconds in the final minute of the third period.

Like the Senators, that is something else to work on before Friday night’s home game against the Calgary Flames.

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