Senators hoping incentives bring back bitter NHL fans

Both Ottawa Senators president Cyril Leeder and captain Daniel Alfredsson said Sunday that they “don’t want to take anything for granted” when it comes to fan support.

As a result, the organization is making a conscious effort to woo back fans that remain bitter about the four-month lockout, starting with the Jan. 21 home opener against the Florida Panthers.

(L-R) Simon Fortin-Brunet, Geneviève Brunet, Sèbastien Fortin, and Leo Fortin-Brunet, disappointed Ottawa Senators fan and his family from Orleans decided to cancel their season tickets. Photo by James Park/Ottawa Citizen

Both Ottawa Senators president Cyril Leeder and captain Daniel Alfredsson said Sunday that they “don’t want to take anything for granted” when it comes to fan support.

As a result, the organization is making a conscious effort to woo back fans that remain bitter about the four-month lockout, starting with the Jan. 21 home opener against the Florida Panthers.

“We don’t know what to expect over our first game, the first 10 games or long term,” Leeder said a press conference before players officially took the ice to open training camp. “We’re doing what we can, reasonably, to encourage them to get to games and that starts with the home opener. It’s a Monday night, but we’re hopeful we have a good crowd.”

The Senators are giving breaks to their approximately 10,600 season ticket holders – they’ll all receive a free game – and concentrating efforts on drawing more children to the rink. For selected games, fans under 14 will receive a free ticket, providing an adult has purchased a ticket.

“Those are the younger fans, they maybe have missed the games a lot and not really understand why there were no games for the first three or four months,” said Leeder. “Our focus has been, for some time now, on getting more kids in the arena and this is just a continuation. We’re trying to do more as we go forward.”

The Senators are also opening Scotiabank Place to the public for all on-ice workouts during their brief training camp. The players will be practicing Monday and Tuesday at noon.

The home schedule is less than ideal – the club has several extended homestands of at least four games, making up for a seven-game road stretch in early due to the world women’s championships at Scotiabank Place – but the Senators aren’t going to whine about any issues. They will make the best of what they’ve got, simply happy they can give NHL hockey back to the fans.

“We’ve got a schedule, we’ll make the best of it,” said Leeder. “There was a lingering feeling that the fans were on the outside, not part of the process, and that’s where the healing has to start. Hopefully, we’re able to deliver something to the fans that’s meaningful.”

 

 

Among the incentives

  • Children under 14 will receive a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket for games against Florida Jan. 21, Washington Jan. 29, Buffalo Feb. 12 and the New York Islanders Feb. 19. For opening night, there will also be $1 popcorn, free parking and 50 per cent off Senators merchandise and parking will be free in Lots 5, 6 and 9.
  • The Jan. 27 game against Pittsburgh, Feb. 7 against Carolina and Feb.21 against the New York Rangers are a Metro Family Game, with prices starting at $25 for a ticket, hot dog and drink
  • The Feb. 5 game is half-priced for students, including $1 popcorn.
  • For the Feb. 9 game against Winnipeg, all minor hockey players will be admitted for half price

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