You know it's hockey season when the Sens hold their annual open house event for their season ticket holders. Said event usually takes place in September, but for obvious reasons, 2013's was held the night of January 16th. It's always a good opportunity to get back in hockey mode and a good chance to interact with the players. I know not all of you were able to attend in person, so here's the next best thing. I present to you the first photo diary of the season. Welcome back Sens Army. Photos after the jump.
This is what greeted everyone as they entered the arena. Some bilingual welcoming words for the returning fans after an exhaustingly long offseason. From everyone's faces I saw, it sure looked like everyone was happy to get back to watching some NHL hockey again.
And here is the ticket that got you into the event. Nothing flashy but it was just a one off event and it did the job. Entry attained.
When I got into SBP I was handed this, which I wasn't expecting. The Sens org gave everyone a concession voucher good for any 2 items out of pizza, popcorn, a hot dog or a soda. Not too shabby, especially considering they didn't have to. Good thing I didn't eat before hand. By the way, can anyone explain why the slices from Pizza Pizza are so much better quality at games compared to when you order it directly from them?
And this is the other thing I got when I arrived at SBP. It's a couple of scratch cards that determined which player(s) you were able to get a picture with and get an autograph from. It was a complete luck of the draw type deal on who you would get. In years past I hadn't had much luck with these type of things so my expectations were low, but...........
Boom!!!! My luck has turned. Got Chris Phillips and more importantly, the one and only Alfie. Not too shabby to get the two longest tenured Sens players on the roster, and of course one legendary captain and face of the franchise.
I had some time to kill before going to see #11, so I went into the arena to check out the scene. Not for me, but if you had kids it was great. Quite a nice setup of games and Sparty related inflatables for all the tots to enjoy, plus it gave you a chance to walk on the ice of SBP, which is pretty cool for anyone.
So I figured I'd roll down to see Alfie first before hitting up the Big Rig later on. After all, he only was there for an hour and I wanted to make sure I was able to get my time in. I went about 20 mins before it was scheduled to start, thinking there might a few eager fans and then this happened......
And this is only maybe half of the lineup. Again, this is 20 mins before he arrived, when only people with an Alfie card could get in to see him. NEVER underestimate the drawing power of the legend.
And here he is in autograph signing mode. He was very pleasant with everyone and more personable than you may think. He signed my 1000 games print and personalized it to me and caught me up on some soccer news. You see on Sunday at the press conference I was at, I proudly rocked my Manchester United kit to celebrate their win over Liverpool that morning. On the way out of the press conference Paul MacLean and Alfie asked me about the game, which was very cool. He remembered me and promptly broke the news to me Pep Guardiola signed on with Bayern Munich. Is there anything this man can't do?
Not that he would ever need the help should he ever decide he wanted to be mayor of Ottawa or anything, but say in theory he did, he sure has the hold a kid thing down. The cheesy moment of the night was when this little girl gave him a kiss on the cheek and the whole room let out a collective awwwwwwwwwwwww!!!
So after getting what I wanted from Alfie, I was on my way to the other room to see the Big Rig. The line next to me was for Turris and pretty much each line was pretty packed. Sens fans seemed pumped up for the new season and to see all the players again.
The ladies love Mr Turris, who's got a Bieber type hairdo going at the moment. But if he's gonna score goals like he did against the Rangers in OT, then rock whatever hair you want my friend. I'm leaning towards getting Turris on my heritage jersey still, but Silfverberg has also entered the equation. What should I do?
Jared Cowen may be out for the year, but that didn't stop him from coming out and dropping some John Hancock's for the Sens Army. I still thinks he's a dead ringer for Jerry Seinfeld and no one can convince me otherwise. Big loss not having him this year. Hopefully he's back in form for next season.
This is Notre Dame alum Erik Condra signing an autograph. I wanted to ask him how he felt about the National Title Game disaster last week, or the breaking Manti Te'o story, but I decided that would be a dick move, so I just let him do his thing. It looks like he's growing a sck flow though, so we have a replacement for O'Brien's locks.
Zack Smith, not Zach as so many often write, getting his vogue on with a couple of junior Sens Army members. I ended up getting him to sign something too, nice guy.
Even Kanata's own Mark Borowiecki, aka The Boro Cop got into the action. He looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself all night. He'll be even happier if he makes the team in a couple of days. Future K-Town legend in the making.
I figured after an hour that the line to see Alfie would have died down. I was dead wrong. They LOVE this guy in Ottawa. Can't say I blame em.
It was nice to see Sens Army gave new Sen and Ottawa native Marc Methot a warm welcome at his first Senators fan event. His line was more than packed as well and people seemed excited to meet and get to know #3.
I was on my way to check out the dressing room for some reason, even though I've been in it multiple times already, but for some reason I always like to see how each player arranges their equipment still, when I ran into a couple of former Sens. Original captain Laurie Boschman and 90's veteran Shaun Van Allen choppin' it up with some fans. Good to see them still showing love to the city and the org, and then...........
....out of the corner of my eye, I spot another former Sen in goalie Ron Tugnutt, who was surprisingly solid in his few years with the Sens. I was shocked at how tiny he was, especially when you see the massive 6'4+ netminders in between the pipes in the league nowadays.
And here's a nice little shot of some of the dressing room stalls from the inside. Alfie's is of course in the middle of the room with the best view, so when he needs to talk some sense into the boys he's in the best position possible. I also learned that Chris Phillips is in charge of the music. I'm not sure why but that doesn't seem like a good choice to me muscially speaking.
A very cool graphic in the dressing room as well, commemorating all the Sens Stanley Cups in franchise history. The only crappy thing is the last one was in 1927, so let's hope we have one to throw up their sooner than later. A break here or there and maybe 2013 is our year right? right?
And just like that, the evening was over, and I have to admit it was rousing success on my end. I met Alfie, got a pic and an autographed print, got some free grub and snapped some great photos for the post. I couldn't really ask for much more from the night. Good job by you to the Sens org. What I do know is it feels good to be back at SBP and I can't wait for Saturday afternoon.
Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on twitter for all the latest Sens commentary and news @SensTown and if you liked this photo diary, check the photo diary tab at the top of the site for the PD archive.