With the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs rolling on, the Ottawa Senators are trying to stay in the conversation.
On Wednesday, the franchise announced the creation of the Senators Community Foundation. The group will be headed by Chris Phillips, who’ll serve as the executive director.
The new foundation replaces the old one and was announced alongside a rebranding of the entire organization, with team president Anthony Leblanc given the greenlight by Eugene Melnyk to take this thing to the next level.
“One of my main mandates is a rebrand,” Leblanc said. “We think once Labour Day rolls around we will be able to get back into the community in a bigger way.”
Leblanc was hired as president of business operations in April. He was formerly the CEO and co-owner of the Arizona Coyotes.
Back in June, the old Ottawa Senators Foundation cut ties with Capital Sports and Entertainment. The Senators Foundation was created in 1998 and raised millions for charities and community programs across Ottawa, but things fell apart when the team said the foundation wouldn’t go along with a “fair and transparent request for proposals [RFP] process.”
There were some reports that the foundation wasn’t as transparent – or honest – as it should’ve been with respect to how much money actually went to the charitable causes.
The Senators have a lot of goodwill to build, both in the community and among their fanbase, and reorganization the foundation is a good step. The rebranding will probably be of more interest to most fans, with a new jersey and design anticipated around the time of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
The Senators own two high picks in the first round of the draft and could make a splash. Having a new design and outlook will work well in conjunction with making some good selections, so general manager Pierre Dorion has his work cut out for him.
Ottawa will have an uphill climb to win fans back to the organization, especially with such a prolonged off-season and so many questions surrounding the start of the next season.
Image: Justin Tang