The Ottawa Senators have asked the city to stop putting up Sens Mile decorations before the start of the 2015 NHL playoffs. The Sens Mile is a civic celebration among the team's fans along Elgin Street.
The Ottawa Senators want no Sens Mile decorations put up before the 2015 NHL playoffs.
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According to The Ottawa Sun's Susan Sherring, team president Cyril Leeder wrote a letter to Ottawa mayor Jim Watson "asking that the city not open Sens Mile early."
For her part, Sherring labels the development as "embarrassing."
The Ottawa Citizen's Blair Crawford and Matthew Pearson say the Senators' request comes on the heels of their game against the New York Rangers at Canadian Tire Centre on March 26. Ottawa is currently occupying the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and is just one point ahead of the Boston Bruins.
Crawford and Pearson obtained a copy of the letter Leeder wrote for Watson:
"We appreciate the enthusiasm and support the council has shown for the Senators with today's motion to open The Sens Mile early.
"However, we would respectfully request that we hold off on this until the team officially qualifies for a playoff spot. When we do, we will be happy to take part in an official ceremony with the mayor, council and local businesses. We feel strongly that the Sens Mile is a playoff tradition and would ask that council reconsider/defer today's motion until the appropriate time."
City solicitor Rick O'Connor issued a statement which says the city will grant the Senators' request, per The Ottawa Citizen:
"Given that this was a goodwill motion intended to support the Ottawa Senators, along with businesses on Elgin Street and across the city, both the mover and the seconder of the motion have agreed to support the request from (the) Ottawa Senators.
"As this was a ceremonial, goodwill motion, the City has decided to abide by the Senators' request and delay the implementation of Council's motion, with the concurrence of the Mayor and the mover and seconder of the motion. This approach is being taken as a respectful, timely and cost-effective response to the Senators' request.
"Should there be any procedural questions arising from this delay, these would be addressed at the Council meeting on April 15, 2015."
O'Connor told Crawford and Pearson he is not superstitious but admitted the possibility of a jinx did come into play. "The specter of a jinx was definitely a factor," he quipped.
Another Ottawa city councilor, Scott Moffatt, told The Ottawa Citizen on Thursday people take jinxes in sports very seriously:
"Anyone who has followed sports, anyone who has been involved in sports knows that superstitions run rampant in sporting events and sports teams, so I'm not surprised (by the Senators' request.
"The team hasn't qualified for the playoffs yet so it makes sense they want to hold off until they do qualify."
The controversy began on Wednesday when councilor Rick Chiarelli asked his colleagues to open Sens Mile despite the playoffs not having begun yet. Sherring stresses this is a celebration normally done during the NHL postseason.
Sherring spoke with Ottawa councilor Jan Harder, who feels the city was "duped." "Clearly, we were duped into believing that the Sens had requested this implemenation," she said.
Another councilor, Allan Hubley, supported Sherring's opinion about the Senators' request as "embarrassing." "I am in support of seeking a means to undo what the motion yesterday has created, which is an embarrassment for our Senators and for our council."
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