Save Senators' scoreclock

Brad Marsh (left), sitting in a near-emptied Marshy’s at Scotiabank Place, under the clock with the...

Brad Marsh (left), sitting in a near-emptied Marshy’s at Scotiabank Place, under the clock with the score from the Senators’ first game in 1992. (TONY CALDWELL/Sun Media)

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Standing here in the daylight squeezing in through the front windows, with everything stripped out of the place except a few booths and the clock over what used to be the bar, it just doesn't seem like the same place that used to thrive and seem so alive after a Senators win.

I stood the other day where the bar in Marshy's Bar and Grill at Scotiabank Place used to be. All that's left now is a bare floor, water pipe and the memory of Rod the Bartender asking me how my night went and sliding me a cold one.

Good guy, that Rod.

"Maybe I should have brought you one last beer," said Brad Marsh, the original Senator and accidental restaurateur, his voice echoing in the near-empty space.

That would have been nice.

Since the then-Palladium opened, Marshy's was the spot where the night started and ended for a lot of people attending a concert or hockey game.

Not anymore.

Marshy's has been ousted by Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, with the rumour being a Bert's Bar -- Melnyk owns a spot by the same name in Barbados, where he lives -- will be in this spot for next season.

Marshy's has been pretty much dismantled and we're here looking at the clock that was the bar's centrepiece.

It's the original clock from the Civic Centre. For the last 13 years, it hung over the bar, each side fixed with the score after each period of the Senators' first game, that incredible 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in October 1992. The red and black clock with the white numbers was the backdrop for "The Rainman," who used to sit up over the bar while playing thousands of tunes for the masses over the years.

The clock was rescued from a farmer's field in Carp, riddled with a few bulletholes and needing some paint.

"It seemed to fit our space perfectly," said Marsh. "We designed the bar around it. It was the centrepiece and the rest of the design of Marshy's fell into place.

'SERVED US WELL'

"For the 13 years we were here, the one question people always asked was, 'where did you get the clock?' They find it hard to believe it was the original clock from the Civic Centre because now, when you think of a clock in a building, they're mammoth, a huge Jumbotron. It served us well."

It's too big for Marsh to take to his Centrepointe location, so he's hoping somebody will be interested in owning a piece of Ottawa sports memorabilia.

"The main thing for the clock is to find a good home for it," said Marsh. "The easy thing is take it down, snip it up and put it in the dumpster and then I'm done with it. (But) something like that, a little piece of Ottawa history, needs to have a nice home."

Marsh could see the clock being a pretty awesome finishing touch to somebody's big backyard rink.

Once the clock is out of here, the only thing left will be the many memories everybody who passed through here take with them.

The whole thing was kind of just lucky. When they couldn't find anybody to run this spot back in '96, then-Senators owner Rod Bryden knocked on Marsh's door and asked him if he wanted to get in the restaurant business.

TRADITION WE NEEDED

How many businesses remain where the guy whose name on the front is there to greet you or clear your table or serve you a beer? Marshy's became a tradition for a hockey franchise in need of them.

But like Marsh says, business is business.

"It didn't come as a big surprise. Cyril (Leeder, Scotiabank Place COO) and I and Capital Sports have been talking about this space for sometime now. We reached a business agreement. I wish them all the best and I'm moving on and I'll focus on my Centrepointe restaurant," said Marsh.

It's sad to see it go; not the bar itself, but the people like Marsh and his many staff who became familiar faces -- and friends.

"It's disappointing," said Marsh. "It would have been nice to go out on a playoff run instead of missing the playoffs and closing the door on that note. We thrived on the Senators and it was such a great atmosphere during the playoffs. It would have been nice to close the doors after a Stanley Cup parade."

Now it would just be nice to see the clock get a good home.

"Hopefully," he said, "someone will take me up on the offer and have an awesome backyard rink."

CHRIS.STEVENSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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