The Ring of Honor was established in 2016 as the Ottawa Senators organization sought to recognize various members of the organization who probably would not get their jersey retired, and to also honor members of the staff who did not play on the ice, and therefore had no number to retire. The first inductee was Bryan Murray, longtime coach, general manager and his final role with the team was senior hockey advisor before he would lose his battle with cancer on August 12th, 2017. Since then, only one more member had been inducted into the Ring of Honor, that being Wade Redden who was inducted this season as part of the 30th year anniversary of the team. Today we’ll look at who else deserves to be considered for this honor with the team.
Jacques Martin was the head coach of the Ottawa Senators during their best years in the regular season. He coached the Sens from 1995 to 2004. The team missed the playoffs in his first season with the team, but that would not be a regular occurrence as the team made the playoffs the next season, and then won their division the following year. Martin won the Jack Adams trophy as NHL Coach of the Year in the 1997-98 season. The Martin-Led Senators would win their first President’s Trophy in Team History in the 2002-03 season and would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the New Jersey Devils. The Sens would begin the 2003-04 season as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup but would be defeated by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. The Senators would then fire Martin because of the lack of post-season success. Martin to this day holds basically every head coaching record in the franchise’s history. He was the first great coach the team would hire.
Jason Spezza was drafted Second Overall by the Senators in the 2001 NHL draft, played with the Sens for 11 seasons, and served as captain for one.
Jason Spezza is regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up for the Senators. In his 11 seasons with the team, he scored 251 goals and 436 assists for 687 points in 686 games, and holds the record for most assists in a season with 71 in the 2005-06 season. Spezza is the stereotypical playmaker who made elite passes from all over the ice and set up numerous highlight-reel goals, while also being good for at least 20 goals year in and year out. Had Spezza stuck around with the team that drafted him, he could have challenged for many of the records set by his former teammate Daniel Alfredsson, and we could be looking at Spezza as the greatest Ottawa Senator in franchise history, and his number could be retired. Unfortunately, that would not be the case, and he’s likely going to just be inducted into the Ring of Honor.
Marian Hossa is technically the first Ottawa Senator to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, having been inducted in the 2020 class, two years before Daniel Alfredsson. Hossa was selected in the first round of the 1997 draft, 12th overall by the Ottawa Senators. With the Senators, Hossa would appear in 467 games, scoring 188 goals and 202 assists for 390 points in parts of seven seasons before being traded away to the Atlanta Thrashers in a package for Dany Heatley. Heatley would continue to jump around the league before winning three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. Heatley never wanted to leave Ottawa, and should he have stayed with the team longer, he could have been in the same discussion I mentioned about Jason Spezza.
This one may be a bit more biased from me because I grew up in the middle of Kyle Turris‘ prime in Ottawa and he was my favorite player on the team not named Erik Karlsson. I’ve always loved Turris because of his play on the ice, and because he was also the first NHL player I ever met in person when I stumbled upon his house while trick-or-treating one year. I made sure to make a stop at his house every Halloween from that point on. He was a very good player in Ottawa, and I remember that he was one of the names being considered by fans and media for captaincy once Spezza moved on from the Sens. In Ottawa, Turris scored 117 goals and 157 assists for 274 points in 407 games. He had his best NHL season while with the Sens, scoring 24 goals and 40 assists for 64 points in the 2014-15 season. His impact was also felt off the ice as he was involved with many charitable organizations, most notably the Capital City Condors, a hockey team for those who are unable to play on an organized team due to cognitive or physical disabilities.
It could be argued that Erik Karlsson‘s jersey should be considered for retirement. I’m not sure if that’s going to happen, but if it doesn’t he deserves to at least be in the Ring of Honor. He is the second greatest player to suit up for the Senators, being drafted 15th overall in the 2008 NHL draft. He would play in Ottawa for 9 years, in which he would score 126 goals and 392 assists for 518 points in 627 games. Karlsson currently sits at third all-time in points, 8th in games played, 9th in goals, 3rd in assists 4th in goals created, and 2nd in shots. Karlsson is easily a Hall of Famer once he decides to retire, and had the best season of his career this year, with the San Jose Sharks.
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While there are many other names I could have mentioned, I felt these 5 names had “first dibs” to be inducted into Ottawa’s Ring of Honor. I’d love to hear your thoughts on who I missed.