Ottawa Senators try to win back fans
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
Published Sunday, January 13, 2013 7:22PM EST
After 119 days without hockey, the Ottawa Senators were back on the ice at Scotiabank Place for their first day of training camp.
“We enjoyed being back out there, it would obviously be nice to see continued support,” said Ottawa Senator Jason Spezza.
The Senators say more than 2000 people came through the doors to watch the first official skate of the season.
One fan showed up with a sign saying: “I’m so happy you’re back, I missed you so much.” Another supporter, overwhelmed said “Look I’m tearing up, I’m so happy they’re back! Hockey is in every Canadian’s blood.”
Others say it may take a while to warm up after the lockout. “I think there’s going to be some resentment for a while.”
A news conference Sunday morning officially launched the shortened 2013 season. Despite the frustration of the lockout, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melynk said he's just happy the latest deal is signed for ten years.
“We never ever want to go through this again, it just can’t happen. You can do it once and maybe get away with it, do it twice and maybe people forgive us,” Melnyk said.
To try and win back fans, Senators are offering things like free parking to the first home game, 50 percent off merchandise and free entry for kids under 14 for the first ten games.
“I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that, being able to take my daughter to the games,” said a mother of two.
The end of the lockout is also a relief to people who will be returning to work in the community and at Scotiabank place. A job fair will be held there January 19th.
While excitment is growing, many people say they'll have to wait and see if the stands will be full for the Ottawa Senators first home game Monday January 21st against Florida.