After almost 68 days at home, Ottawa Sun’s journalist Bruce Garrioch heads off to the Hylands Golf Membership after talking to Ottawa Senators conditioning coach Chris Schwarz for a phone interview. It is his seventh year at the Hylands Golf membership, and he admits that he had been waiting for the course to open.
Because of the pandemic, specific rules need to be implemented. He said there is no bodily contact, and they had to refrain from the usual handshakes and hugs. “Just friendly and honest thanks.” he said.
The management had to implement window hours to accommodate golfers so as not to violate the distancing. Usually, players can tee between dawn to seven a.m., appropriately dubbed the “early birds.” But now, there is a 20 minute arrangement time and a 10-minute window between tee instances.
He was accompanied by spouse Maria and two companions Ian and Wade. They played rounds at 11:20 a.m., signifying the start of the golf season for the year 2020. However, there are no scoreboards, though, and the first tee benches and ball washers are removed.
According to Pierre Dorion, the general manager of the Ottawa Senators, the team is looking back on last year’s highlights and looking ahead at the uncertain 2020-2021 campaign as some off-season changes are being made underway. Dorion will hold the Senator’s end of the season press conference with local media through a Zoom call on Thursday afternoon.
The usual conference used to be held at the Canadian Tire Centre, but due to the pandemic, Dorion held it through his office at his Ottawa home, where he stayed since March. He discussed some of the changes involved, such as putting coach D.J. Smith behind the bench, the drafts set on June 26, and some other off-season changes, including new faces on the team. The deputy commissioners have not yet released the date for the next season. It is to be confirmed when the Senators will start their season training.
The stats of the season are final, and things are looking good for the Senators as they gained a 25 percent chance of landing the first pick in the entry draft. This puts them as the leading team in the league.
However, things are not looking good for them as they failed to fill the seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for most of the team’s home games this season. The NHL attendance report showed at ESPN.com gives the Senator a 12,618 average crowd audience for the season. Right above them is the Islanders at 12,810. The Senators also placed a lousy percentage for building capacity filled with 65.9 percent landing nowhere near Islander’s 81.3 percent.
It is unclear whether the Senators are gaining lesser fans as the years went on or whether there is a significant decrease in people interested in watching the game in general. In the 2018-2019 season, the Senators attracted 14,553 spectators, which shows that their average crowd dropped. The team is hoping that their 25 percent chances on the draft pick will raise the audience next season.