Commentary: Canadian NHL fans sure to go silent should Senators advance to the Cup

Ottawa Senators’ Bobby Ryan, left, is congratulated by Derick Brassard after his goal during Game 4 of the first-round NHL playoff series in Boston in April. (Charles Krupa/Canadian Press/File)

By Roy Green, Radio Host Corus Radio

Cheer for the Ottawa Senators? In both official languages, “Mon Dieu/My God!” (No thanks/Non, merci.)

Lest there be any confusion, we’re not raising the middle finger of political discontent.

These Senators are not of the variety most commonly associated with Canada’s capital — namely achieving senatorial recognition by delivering bags filled with unmarked evidence of political affiliation. No indeed. The Senators to whom I’m referring may indeed carry about bags of loot, but it is their own.

These Senators accumulate their Ottawa plunder by plying their trade on a sheet of ice. They are the NHL’s nod to the nation which traditionally filled its ranks of mercenaries.

The fact they weren’t supposed to be in Ottawa or wearing that weird Roman Empire throwback logo is almost forgotten. The team should actually be playing out of the city of Hamilton, backed by billionaire Ron Joyce and the Tim Hortons fortune.

Mr. Joyce, chequebook at the ready, was present in person in Florida in 1990 prepared to satisfy the NHL’s expansion-team entry fee. Not only that, Hamilton had arguably North America’s best, and certainly brand-new, hockey arena.

However, NHL emperor Gary Bettman wanted no part of a northern Pittsburgh, and perhaps afraid of a crueller/double-double logo, sent Mr. Joyce packing empty-handed.

Instead, in 1992 the Ottawa Senators stumbled onto a rink almost as professional as the one your dad constructed in the family backyard, the arena seemingly dating to the original Senators’ debut NHL appearance in 1917.

Perhaps Bettman hoped Ottawa would crumble and he could move the franchise to the hockey hotbed of, say, Mar-a-Lago.

Now a quarter of a century later, with arenas in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver now sadly silent at this point in the season, the Senators (still sporting that wonky logo) are knocking on the door of a Conference championship — and perhaps even Le Coupe Stanley.

Should we Canadian hockey fanatics temporarily shred lifelong allegiances and chant, “Go Sens Go” from the nation’s basement man caves? Ha! That would be like cheering for Slovakia should Canada ever again be dispatched from prime global tournaments.

It’s like asking the Tifosi to abandon Ferrari and cheer for Mercedes in Formula 1.

Should Ottawa somehow manage to erase the Pittsburgh Penguins (an even dopier team name than Senators) and advance to the Stanley Cup finals, every red-blooded Canadian will be cheering for, well, Slovakia!

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