Move west mixed blessing for 67's
AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Growing up in Orleans a Senators fan, Cody Ceci was thrilled to learn he’d be sharing the same rink as the big boys, even if it meant making some adjustments in his own routine.
“It’s going to be cool to play in the same building as the Sens, but it’s a bit unfortunate for me — I may have to move away from home,” said the 67’s defenceman.
“It’s going to be a long drive (from Orleans), so I may even have to billet now out in Kanata as opposed to driving the 40 minutes twice a day.”
Ottawa 67’s owner Jeff Hunt confirmed the team will spend the next two seasons sharing Scotiabank Place with the Senators while the Civic Centre and Lansdowne Park undergo a massive reconstruction.
Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2014.
“We had to find an alternative, and obviously there’s a great alternative at Scotiabank Place,” said Hunt, adding he expects a “diverse” reaction from fans.
“The fans understand that we have no choice, but that doesn’t mean (they’re) going to like it. We understood that when we made the decision, but the reality you’d experience (at the Civic Centre), even if you only had a five-minute commute, once you got here, you wouldn’t like what you’d be coming into.”
For the 67’s to remain at the Civic Centre, temporary roads and walkways would have to be constructed, and eventually the arena roof would need replacing.
“We’re looking forward to a nice new building, but that comes with a price,” said 67’s coach and GM Chris Byrne. “It’s going to be a little tough for certain things, billeting, school, practices, and those are details we still have to work out.”
Despite the potential headaches in scheduling around two hockey teams, concerts and special events, Senators president Cyril Leeder said the move is “a good thing” for the venue and sponsors.
"We were able to come to an agreement fairly quickly,” said Leeder. “They’ve had good attendance here in the games that they’ve had (at SBP). I would guess they’ll have an uptick in fans when they come out here.”