Ottawa Senators to play Ukrainian national anthem before home games

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The Ukrainian national anthem will be played prior to Ottawa Senators’ home games for the remainder of the season, team owner Eugene Melnyk said on Wednesday. This is in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Melnyk, whose parents were born in the Ukraine, also said the team will utilize 50/50 draws to allow the Senators Community Foundation to donate to some of the organizations currently providing humanitarian and medical assistance to Ukraine.

The club also will use its home arena as a drop-off point to collect charitable donations, per Melnyk.

Ottawa Senators to play Ukrainian national anthem

Ottawa Senators to play Ukrainian national anthem before home games
Feb 22, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot (72) celebrates with team his goal scored in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Melnyk made these acknowledgments in an open letter published on full-page advertisements in the Ottawa Sun and Ottawa Citizen.

“I am a proud and patriotic Canadian, born and raised in this special country. I am also a proud Ukrainian, the son of parents who were both born in the Ukraine,” Melnyk wrote in the letter, which also was shared by the Senators’ social media sites. “The steadfast will and determination that is my heritage has attracted the admiration and respect of people around the world.

“Today, we are all Ukrainians. The unprovoked assault and unnecessary campaign, economic and social destruction of a sovereign country is unspeakable and unacceptable in a civilized world.

“And, while the images from Ukraine show courage and resilience, they’re also a cry out for help.”

The Senators, who are in the midst of a five-game road trip, will start the practice of playing the Ukraine national anthem on March 10 prior to their contest against the expansion Seattle Kraken.

The NHL said Monday it was suspending its business partnerships in Russia and pausing its Russian language social and digital media in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

–Field Level Media