Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Ottawa Senators Official Website FRANÇAIS Official Site of the Ottawa Senators
Hamburglar strikes again! TICKETS

Sens Army invades Stockholm

Operation Sweden a memorable experience for everyone involved

Sunday, 05.10.2008 / 9:25 PM / News
Share with your Friends

Sens Army invades Stockholm
"Sens Army Operation Sweden" was a peaceful occupation as almost 60 die-hard Ottawa fans have spent the week cheering on their team, spreading the gospel of Ottawa hockey and Canadian culture to everyone they engage.
STOCKHOLM – The Sens Army has invaded this city this week.

Fortunately, Sens Army Operation Sweden – the code name for this mission – was a peaceful occupation as almost 60 die-hard Ottawa fans have spent the week cheering on their team and making the city their own; soldiers spreading the gospel of Ottawa hockey and Canadian culture to everyone they engage.

These foot soldiers weren't hard to miss this weekend at the Globe Arena, site of the Bridgestone NHL Premiere 2008 series that saw the Ottawa Senators play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a pair of games. No, they didn't wear camouflage. Rather, they were decked out in red Senators jerseys, each emblazoned with the No. 08 on the back and SWEDEN across the nameplate.

Pittsburgh won the opener 4-3 in overtime to give the Sens Army one of the only setbacks of the trip. Sunday, Ottawa answered with a 3-1 victory to bolster the already sky-high morale of the troops, who will remain on the ground until Wednesday.

At that time they will withdraw – not retreat – back to Ottawa with another successful mission under their belt.

But there is no time to think about ultimate victory yet. There is more for these soldiers to do while they have boots on the ground.

"It's been absolutely amazing," said Bev Crepin, an Ottawa resident who has owned season suite tickets for the past eight years and made the trip with her daughter, Kelsey, and sister-in-law, Debbie Crepin. "The people here are so friendly."

How friendly?

Let's ask Tim Snelling, another soldier taking part in the team's latest fan deployment.

"We got lost our first night here and this couple saw our pins (of crossed flags from Canada and Sweden) and came over and said, 'You're Canadian and you’re lost,' " he related. "They asked where we wanted to go and we told them we were looking for a restaurant. They took us by the elbow and led us right to it."

With hospitality like that, it's hard not to have a good time. And it was clear on Sunday night that Snelling, who has supported the team throughout its existence, was having the time of his life.

"The nightlife here is amazing," he said. "Everything about this trip is amazing. I have done a lot of travelling, and this trip has been just amazing. Everything has been just seamless."

Lisa Trevisanutto, the marketing manager for the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place, is the general in charge of this invasion. She prepared the battle plan, relying heavily on the intelligence provided James C. Hanlon, who runs the Hanlon Company. His business plans and books tours of Scandinavia for youth hockey teams based in North America.

Hanlon knows the lay of the land and he was able to plan the paths of attack necessary to see and conquer all the must-see attractions in the city. He has opened the doors to the city's most exclusive restaurants and nightclubs and provided a wealth of recon material to the troops.

“We wanted to put together a package for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Trevisanutto. "Because of the limited number of tickets the club had, we targeted our club-seat holders, sponsors and other clients and the response was amazing."

Soldiers were volunteering for duty as soon as the invasion plans were announced.

"When we heard about this junket, we jumped on it," said Snelling, the president and CEO of Palladium Insurance.

Snelling, it seems, was almost destined to be on this trip. He is a Senators soldier by birth.

"I grew up a snowball's throw from what is now Scotiabank Place," he said. "It was a cornfield then."

Despite being a member of the Sens Army rank and file, Snelling knows a little something about leadership and he believes the success of this invasion by his fellow troops rests with the Supreme Commander, team owner Eugene Melnyk, and second in command, Roy Mlakar.

"Eugene Melnyk has a personal touch in everything he does," says Snelling. "Eugene and Roy spend time with the fans and that is important. It is part of the reason for the success. Eugene appreciates the support of his clients and he shows it. I'm not surprised that this is so well run. Eugene probably personally signed off on it."

Like a good field commander, Trevisanutto has made sure her troops are well cared for. After the hard work of the weekend, she has given the army two free days before boarding the Freedom Bird home.

Monday, there is a commando raid on the Ice Bar, one of Stockholm's most interesting landmarks. But it will be made by volunteers only. No orders will be given from here on out. Well, no orders except for one.

"So far, we have had a fantastic time," said Trevisanutto. "Stockholm has been so hospitable to us and everybody has had a fantastic time. We just want that to continue until we leave."

Clearly, Sens Army Operation Sweden has been a battlefield success beyond anyone's expectations.


Author: Shawn P. Roarke | Managing Editor




1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
3 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
6 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
7 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
8 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43


E. Karlsson 60 15 32 3 47
B. Ryan 56 15 30 8 45
K. Turris 60 15 28 -4 43
M. Hoffman 57 23 16 23 39
M. Stone 58 15 24 11 39
M. Zibanejad 58 15 18 2 33
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 55 11 14 -1 25
D. Legwand 58 8 14 -3 22
A. Chiasson 54 9 12 -8 21
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02