The Ottawa Senators’ current rebuild is clearly setting them up for a bright future. But there was a heavy price tag on this rebuild, paid in installments over the past three years. For example, since going to the 2017 Conference Final, the club has stocked up on youth and draft picks by saying goodbye to a lot of players from that team. Wait, scratch that. The club has now parted company with their entire roster; not one full-time player now remains from that memorable playoff run.
The team is even rebuilding in the charity department, parting company with the entire roster of people who ran the Sens Foundation, an entity that’s has been around for 22 years. It will forge on with new staff and a new moniker: The Senators Community Foundation.
But the outgoing Foundation board and staff weren’t done yet with their good works in the capital region, nor were a number of former Senators stars. This week, as they have so often in the past, those two groups came together for a worthy cause.
Players like Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, JG Pageau, Bobby Ryan and Mark Borowiecki all drew assists, appearing in a clever promotional video and helping the charity group relaunch as the Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation. The message was marketing genius. Just like the fans, this charity group and these very well-liked former players have obviously had to deal with recent major change themselves. The video and its message scream empathy, stability and the continuation of something very good.
Danielle Robinson is the OGYF’s President and CEO, the same roles she held with the Sens Foundation for almost 15 years.
“It was a sad time for all of us at the Foundation when the decision was finalized that the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and the Ottawa Senators Foundation were parting ways,” Robinson said. “The outpouring of support we received from fans of the team, club staff, former players, and Foundation donors, sponsors, event participants and community event organizers, as well as the charities we support, was so humbling. It certainly reinforced that the Foundation did indeed have an important role to play within the community.”
Robinson was thrilled to see the former players step up again this week the way they always did during their time playing in Ottawa.
“The Foundation provides players who are still active in the NHL, and their families, an opportunity to work with a staff, team and volunteer business leaders they know and trust. Our Foundation offers them an opportunity to support young people throughout the National Capital Region, a place many of these families call home in the offseason. I’m very thankful for their support and excited about where we are headed.”
The Foundation is aimed at empowering young people, primarily 8-22 years of age, to realize their full potential with engagement in physical & mental wellness activities, post-secondary education studies and opportunities to lead social justice actions within their communities.
On October 28th, the group will announce details of its new logo, brand, mission and vision, website, board members and areas of giving priority at ottawagatineauyouthfoundation.com
Both the OGYF and the Sens Community Foundation seem happy with the new world order, strongly believing that another major fundraising group is a good thing for the city. The need is obviously there and the hope is that there will be enough fundraising dollars to go around, particularly during this restrictive time we’re in.
No matter what happens, one cannot help but cheer on both groups and the important work they have planned for our region.
By Steve Warne