OTTAWA - The Senators were hatched over several swigs of beer after a rec league hockey game.
And what started as a “what if” became a “why not” and a thirtysomething trio of Bruce Firestone, Cyril Leeder and Randy Sexton began a dogged pursuit of an NHL franchise for Ottawa.
It didn’t seem like it could or should happen. Somehow, with little money on the table, Terrace Investments charmed its way into the hearts of the NHL board of governors.
With Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down becoming the rallying cry, the Senators were back in business. And it’s been a wild ride ever since.
Names like Peter Sidorkiewicz, Brad Shaw, Sylvain Turgeon, Mike Peluso, Laurie Boschman and Mark Lamb were on that first team.
And Senators fans had dreams of a Stanley Cup parade down Bank St. in Year 1 when the expansion franchise dumped the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 in their first game, Oct. 8, 1992.
So much has happened since that first game was played in the Civic Centre.
Alexei Yashin, came, starred, sulked and left ... And was traded.
Alexandre Daigle, with much hype, wore a nurse’s uniform and faded away.
Marian Hossa came and starred and was traded ... Guilty only of making too much money.
Zdeno Chara was a huge star, but was inexplicably allowed to leave as the Sens ponied up big money to Wade Redden, who wilted away.
Dany Heatley was rescued from Atlanta, then begged to escape, becoming Public Enemy No. 1 on his way out the door.
Daniel Alfredsson blossomed into the face of the franchise.
Jason Spezza arrived and put up big numbers, but somehow, for some reason, we always wanted more.
Legendary coach Roger Neilson passed through and made a difference before succumbing to a battle with cancer.
There have been two post-Firestone owners: Rod Bryden and Eugene Melnyk. And there have been three names for that big indoor rink in Kanata: The Palladium, Corel Centre and Scotiabank Place.
Most of all, Senators fans have memories — good and bad.