Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Ottawa Senators Official Website FRANÇAIS Official Site of the Ottawa Senators

ALL regular season home game TICKETS ON SALE NOW!


Coaches' event honours Neilson

Roger's House to benefit from inaugural Dinner Behind The Bench

Thursday, 01.05.2008 / 3:55 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
Share with your Friends

Coaches\' event honours Neilson
He will always have a special place in the hearts of the hockey coaching fraternity.

So it is almost fitting, then, that the National Hockey League Coaches’ Association has chosen to hold its first major charity function in the city in which Roger Neilson’s name continues to make a difference every day.

The inaugural NHL Scotiabank Dinner Behind The Bench presented by the Ottawa Citizen is set for June 18 at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata. It is the first of a series of events affiliated with the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and one that coaches around the league figure to embrace in a major way.

Jeff McCreary, the NHL Coaches’ Association’s executive director, said Neilson’s connection with the Senators and the city of Ottawa offers the perfect backdrop for the first of what the group hopes will be an annual event. Roger’s House has been chosen as the charity of choice for this year’s dinner.

“To be able to get an affiliation with something that honoured Roger made a lot of sense,” said McCreary. “Roger was beloved by the coaches. He touched a lot of coaches and he developed a lot of coaches, and he gave back to the community as well.”

Neilson, a former Senators assistant coach, passed away on June 21, 2003 – NHL draft day that year – after a long-term battle with two forms of cancer. Roger’s House, located on the grounds of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, has had more than 400 admissions since opening its doors in May 2006. It provides a comprehensive pediatric respite and palliative care program with elements of outreach, residential hospice, pain and symptom management, grief and bereavement counselling and research.

McCreary said the coaches’ association is hoping to raise more than $50,000 for Roger’s House through title sponsor Scotiabank, presenting sponsor (the Citizen), a live auction of hockey memorabilia and tickets sold to 350 guests. He added the Sens Foundation has been a vital part of the team putting the dinner together.

“We hoped to have a great partner with an obvious connection (to the charity),” said McCreary. “The good thing here is that the Sens Foundation really acts as the fundraising arm for Roger’s House.

“They’ve been an unbelievable (help) to me. They’re great people … They’ve been the arms and legs of pulling it together. They really deserve the bulk of the credit for it.”

Los Angeles Kings head coach Marc Crawford will be the featured speaker at the dinner. Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman has been chosen to introduce a tribute video to Neilson. Comedian and magician André Harris will provide entertainment during the evening.

“We’re going to make it fun,” said McCreary. “We’ll do it up right and make it very first class.”
Most of all, they’ll toast a one-of-kind coach whose legacy will live forever in Ottawa.

“Definitely, Roger’s affiliation was a home run for us,” said McCreary, adding the coaches’ association couldn’t be happier to begin its new tradition with “such a great, great hockey connection, especially to a guy who was as colourful and energetic as Roger was.”

An NHL jersey raffle, with autographed jerseys from every NHL team, is planned as a ramp-up activity to the event. All the items and details will be an announced at a later date and listed at and




1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


E. Karlsson 82 20 54 -15 74
J. Spezza 75 23 43 -26 66
K. Turris 82 26 32 22 58
C. MacArthur 79 24 31 12 55
B. Ryan 70 23 25 7 48
A. Hemsky 75 13 30 -15 43
M. Michalek 82 17 22 -25 39
M. Zibanejad 69 16 17 -15 33
M. Methot 75 6 17 0 23
P. Wiercioch 53 4 19 -1 23
C. Anderson 25 16 8 .911 3.00
R. Lehner 12 15 6 .913 3.06