OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators will dedicate a game to the Canadian Forces for the fourth straight season.
This year's Canadian Forces Appreciation Night will happen Thursday at Scotiabank Place when the Senators face the Carolina Hurricanes. Over 2,600 Canadian Forces members and their families are expected to attend, with admission provided by CF Appreciation Night's supporters and the Ottawa Senators Tickets for Troops campaign.
"The Ottawa Senators are proud to recognize the Canadian Forces," Senators and Scotiabank Place owner Eugene Melnyk said in a statement. "We honour them for their dedication, courage and professionalism in representing all Canadians as they work to bring peace and democracy to other less fortunate countries."
"It is absolutely incredible and overwhelming to see how the Senators hockey organization, along with their fans and corporate partners, were able to come up with such an incredible show of support towards the men and women who serve in their local community," said Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk, vice-chief of the defence staff, who will be joined by his family and Melnyk for the ceremonial face-off.
The game's Canadian and American national anthems will be sung by O.P.P. Constable Lyndon Slewidge and 20 members of the Canadian Forces Central Band and Flag Party. Throughout play, messages from members of HMCS Ottawa and Canadian Forces in Afghanistan will be shown on the video board, and The Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency will sell Support our Troops merchandise at a kiosk on the arena's 200 level.
During the first intermission, four Canadian Forces families will participate in a face-off competition. In the second, nine Canadian Forces hockey players from the Army, Navy and Air Force will compete in a skills competition called the Hockey Country Showdown.
Senators players will wear Support our Troops ribbons on their helmets. Fans in attendance have been encouraged to show their support by wearing red.
On the same night, The Washington Capitals will also honour the Canadian Forces when they host the Edmonton Oilers at the Verizon Center, marking the first time a U.S. team will pay tribute to Canada's armed forces.
The national anthems will be sung by Sgt. Cindy Scott of the Air Command Band in Winnipeg and members of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry will present the colours. Fans at the game will receive commemorative pucks provided by the Canadian military.
"The Capitals are excited to honour the dedication and service of the members of the Canadian military," team president Dick Patrick said in a statement. "Our Canadian allies serve alongside U.S. forces around the world, and we appreciate all of their efforts."