x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The ups and downs of rooting for the Sens

My team I was brought up in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, at a time when the city had no NHL team. All that changed when Ottawa was awarded a franchise in 1990.

Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal against Buffalo Sabres.
Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal against Buffalo Sabres.

I was brought up in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, at a time when the city had no NHL team. My schoolfriends picked up other clubs - many followed Montreal, some supported Edmonton and a few, I am ashamed to say, even cheered for Toronto. But not me. I admired certain teams and individual players, but I did not root for any of them. All that changed when Ottawa was awarded an NHL franchise in 1990. The city had a team from 1917-32 but that was a little before my time.

The new Sens began playing in the 1992/3 season. They were a collection of outcasts, misfits and kids. We won just 10 of our 84 games, but I still cheered. Highly touted draft picks like Alexandre Daigle and Alexei Yashin failed to live up to expectations, but the team slowly improved, especially under the guidance of coach Jacques Martin. We went from pretenders to contenders at the turn of the decade: having great regular seasons before being upset in the play-offs, usually by Toronto. Those defeats still hurt.

Recent years have seen the Sens at their best. We reached the Stanley Cup final in 2007, something Toronto have not managed since 1967. Led by our captain, Daniel Alfredsson, we won three play-off rounds before losing to Anaheim. Better things were expected, but for over a year the team have been stuck in a malaise of underachievement. We have had four coaches in two seasons and, sadly, seem to have come full circle.