Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
While trying to ice a competitive AHL team to gain the support of local hockey fans, the Belleville Senators also continue to focus on showing support to the local community.
This past 2021-22 season, despite a number of challenges faced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Senators presented more than $170,000 in donations and contributions to the Bay of Quinte community.
Those fundraising dollars were accomplished through initiatives such as CAA Chuck-A-Puck, Sens Community Foundation 50/50 Draw, Community Heroes Night Presented by Bell, Rosebush Energies Food Drive Night, Hockey Fights Cancer Night in support of the Belleville General Hospital Foundation, Military Appreciation Night presented by Magna Autosystems and the Sens Friends Ticket Program.
“We’re a professional hockey team, but we want to do our best to give back to the community that we call home,” said David Foot, the Sens coordinator of media and community relations.
“We had to adjust how we did everything, from how the players interacted around the rink right to how we raised funds.”
This year’s total is a new high after the club reached a donation total of $154,000 in 2019-20 and was unable to run traditional fundraisers during the shortened 2020 season when the AHL Senators played out of Ottawa.
The Sens plan to continue to support and contribute to worthwhile community organizations, causes and events through 2022-23 and beyond. Check out the Sens Community Corner to find out how the club may be able to support your local organization.
Next season, the Belleville Sens also look forward to moving ahead with minor hockey programming with a number of activities, including Belly’s Clean Up Crew, Flag Kids, Intermission Scrimmage, Chuck-A-Puck, Play Like the Pros and High-Five Tunnel.
“If you’re involved in a minor hockey organization and you’d like to team up with us, that’s what we’re here for,” Foot said. “We want to try to inspire that next generation of hockey players and when you can come and see some of the best players in the world right here in your own backyard, that’s a perfect opportunity to inspire those kids and also coaches can use these games at the higher levels as a learning experience as well. You can learn a lot just from watching these professional players, not just how they play, but how they act and how they carry themselves. The best part about those minor hockey programs is you get up close and personal.”
You can find out more on the Sens website about minor hockey programs and other group packages.
Also, it has just been announced that the Bellevilles Sens and CAA Arena will host an NHL exhibition game on Friday, Sept. 30 between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Belleville Sens season ticket holders will have first right of refusal tickets for that game followed by the club’s flex pack buyers. Remaining tickets will be made available to the general public.
Anyone who buys season or flex tickets soon will still have that early opportunity to purchase tickets to see Ottawa and Toronto play. An on-sale date hasn’t been determined yet, but tickets are expected to be priced around what Belleville Sens fans are accustomed to paying.
“It’s going to give fans a chance to see that level of hockey in an environment where I would say is almost unmatched with how close to the action you can get here at CAA Arena,” Foot remarked.
More information on the game, including ticket details, game time and rosters will be made available in the coming weeks and fans are encouraged to stay tuned to the Belleville Sens website and social media platforms for updates. Further questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This game is a great way for hockey fans in the Bay of Quinte region to get set for the new season, to see some of their favourite Belleville Sens players, who developed here in the Friendly City, before becoming everyday players in the NHL,” stated Belleville Sens vice-president Breanne Matthews in a release.