The Senators aren’t going to be playing on Parliament Hill, but they could still be getting their outdoor game. The NHL, City of Ottawa and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group are reportedly looking into hosting the game at TD Place.
It turns out the Ottawa Senators’ outdoor game hopes might not have been Parliament Hill or bust after all.
For more than a year, the NHL, Senators and Canadian government were reportedly working on a potential outdoor game that would take place on the site of Canada’s parliamentary building, but that came screeching to a halt in early November when it was announced that Parliament Hill would not play host to the game for a number of reasons, several of which were logistical in nature.
With the site off the table, it seemed as though the chances of the Senators hosting a game in December 2017 — a game which would have commemorated the 100th anniversary of the NHL’s first game between Ottawa and Montreal — were bleak. The Senators organization had said they weren’t previously eyeing any locations for the game outside of Parliament Hill, and less than two weeks after the announcement the game on Parliament Hill had been shot down, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league might consider playing the game elsewhere.
"We're going to see if we want to play a game on Founders Day somewhere else, and by that I mean in a different city," Bettman said, according to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. "We haven't made any decisions.”
However, facing the possibility of losing the game altogether, the Senators are on their way to hosting the game at TD Place, the home of the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
Garrioch reported that when the government shut down the idea for the game on Parliament Hill, the Senators “started working on the (TD Place) idea internally immediately” so that the wheels could get in motion for the league to host the game elsewhere. Now it’s up to the NHL to seal the deal with the City of Ottawa, which owns the building, and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which operates it.
According to Garrioch, if everything goes well, plans could be in place by mid-January for an outdoor meeting at TD Place between the Senators and Canadiens in December 2017.
It’s interesting to note, though, that it’s going to take a quick turnaround to make the game happen.
TD Place is set to host the Grey Cup on Nov. 26, 2017 — which will also happen to be one year after the hometown RedBlacks captured the league title — giving any outdoor game in December only a few weeks to prepare. It might not be a problem, however. The NHL started preparing Investors Group Field in Winnipeg two weeks before the Heritage Classic, and, were it not for a sunshine delay, the game would have gone off without a hitch.
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