As we head into the business end of the NHL season it’s easy to get playoff tunnel vision. Let’s not forget how far the Ottawa Senators have come since their return to the Canadian Capital.
Bruce Firestone is the man to thank for making the dream a reality. Stuck between a rock and a hard place (Toronto and Montreal) the capital was crying out to have its’ own team once more. 1990, the city was awarded the franchise after well over two years of blood, sweat and tears. Beginning play in the 1992/92 season, the city turned to jubilation and celebration.
There was once a team who bore the same name, a successful one at that. Boasting 11 Stanley Cups. Playing 17 years in the NHL before being moved to St. Louis in 1934, to play one season as the St. Louis Eagles. The team would fold thereafter.
The “O” of the original team is one that creates heated debate. Many want the return of the team’s historic logo, adding legacy and nostalgia to the fanbase.
First Season Back
If you can bear to watch the inaugural celebration during that first game against the Montreal Canadiens (it hasn’t aged terribly well), the place is bouncing. The opening night win, was to be one of the relatively few successes that season.
Before the draft lottery was introduced, the last placed team would be entitled to the number one draft pick. The Sens managed to win the aptly titled “Daigle Cup”, tanking in the most obvious of ways. Firestone even managing to get fined $100,000 for his tank affiliated comments.
The Sens initial first overall draft pick in the 1993 draft was to be Quebec native, Alexandre Daigle. Highly rated to be an NHL-ready superstar that would blossom at any franchise. The Quebec Nordiques seemed ready to sell the entire team in order to secure one of their own.
Signed to a $12,250,000 rookie contract, the largest at the time, excitement filled the team. Interestingly, the size of that contract led to the NHL changing the conditions for rookie’s coming into the league. Even Connor McDavid had to sign an entry-level contract in today’s NHL.
Touted as the 36th biggest bust in sports history, he only managed to amount 327 points in 10 NHL seasons. Totalling 121 points in 217 games for the Sens, a measly 0.557 points per game for number one pick.
His trade to Philadelphia summing up a torrid time in Ottawa.
Ottawa Civic Centre
The Sens were based in the city centre once upon a time. The 9,500 seater stadium temporarily hosting the young NHL franchise. The atmosphere was said to be intense as the fans tried to make it an intimidating place for travelling teams to play.
Many within Sens Army yearn for the team to return to the city centre and that appears to be on the cards. The Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League continue to occupy the arena, racking in huge numbers for a Junior team.
We will continue to work our way through the Ottawa Senators short but action-packed history. Leading you passed the 1993/4 season and beyond. Focusing on some of the greatest players this franchise has seen.