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Lighting up the night to support Sens Foundation

Energizer skating event on Rideau Canal helps kickstart community rink project

Friday, 09.12.2011 / 2:57 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Lighting up the night to support Sens Foundation

Its legacy is guaranteed to be felt long beyond NHL All-Star Weekend itself.

Then again, the Energizer Night Skate at NHL All-Star is more than just a mere addition to the calendar for the parade of activities slated during the National Hockey League's mid-season showcase, set for Jan. 26-29 in the nation's capital.

Rather, this evening dash on blades down the Rideau Canal is designed to provide a springboard to a community rink project the Sens Foundation hopes will benefit high-priority neighbourhoods throughout the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

If all goes as planned, more than 2,500 people will don skates on Jan. 27 and, guided by personal headlights, "light up the night" to support the Sens Foundation in a five-kilomentre fundraising event to help raise the money need to build 19 community outdoor rinks on both sides of the Ottawa River. It's an extension of the Rink of Dreams project now underway at Marion Dewar Plaza in front of Ottawa City Hall.

"We want to give one rink for every year we've been in business here," Sens Foundation president Danielle Robinson said with reference to the Senators organization's 20th anniversary. "It's a legacy that we want to give back in celebration of our 20 years in the community."

The Energizer night skate will be the kickstart to that fundraising drive, with the Foundation hoping to turn it into an annual event that carries on beyond all-star weekend. More than $7 million will be required to build the 19 rinks, Robinson said, with fundraising efforts determining the time frame in which all the rinks will be completed. They're also intended to be recreational spaces year round, available for sports such as basketball and ball hockey during the summer months.

"We hope (it'll happen) fairly quickly, in the next four or five years," said Senators president Cyril Leeder. "The fundraising will really dictate how quickly we get these done. We're hoping to do a multiple number of them each year ... We've got one on the boards now we'd like to do in the spring and, as the fundraising gets completed, we'll look to add more."

Senators centre Jason Spezza and his wife, Jennifer, have been named honorary chairs for the Jan. 27 event, as well as the community rink campaign. For Spezza, who grew up playing on outdoor rinks, it's a perfect fit.

"I've been very fortunate to play my whole career here and we're always looking for different ways to help the community," said Spezza. "As a kid growing up in Canada, you spend lots of time on outdoor rinks and you really hone your craft. Even now, when you skate outside, you get that special feeling you don’t always get when you’re playing in arenas. To share this feeling throughout the community and to figure out ways to help build this program up is something we jumped at.

"We have a young family at home that’s growing and we consider Ottawa our second home. We want our kids to be able to play in outdoor rinks and, hopefully, we can raise lots of money and lots of awareness to help this cause."

To register for the Jan. 27 event, log on to The cost to register is $20 or $15 for those aged 12 and under. Each participant receives an Energizer LED headlight and commemorative event toque.




1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
3 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
4 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
5 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
6 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
7 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
8 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43


B. Ryan 55 15 30 8 45
E. Karlsson 59 14 31 2 45
K. Turris 59 15 26 -5 41
M. Stone 57 14 23 9 37
M. Hoffman 56 21 15 22 36
M. Zibanejad 57 15 17 1 32
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 54 11 14 -2 25
D. Legwand 57 8 14 -2 22
A. Chiasson 53 9 12 -7 21
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02