But the National Hockey League (NHL) has long realized that the most passionate, knowledgeable and appreciative fans live north-of-the-border.
So it’s no surprise that the league has several teams that call Canadian cities home. One such team is the Ottawa Senators.
They play their home games in a building with the unusual name of the Canadian Tire Centre. There have been other names for the building that has housed the arena inside since it opened back in 1996. For instance, the year that construction was completed and the gates for entry opened for the first time, the name on the outside wall was The Palladium.
For ten years after that, until 2006, the home of the Ottawa Senators was known as the Corel Centre. And from 2006-2013, the name became Scotiabank Place.
Graphic via ephesuslighting
Names come and go, but the team that uses the arena, at least in this case, has remained a constant. The Ottawa Senators play the majority of their home games before capacity crowds of 19,153 fans. Frequently, standing room only seats are also sold pushing total attendance to an impressive twenty thousand five hundred fans.
But, as is the case for most North American sports arenas, other sporting and entertainment events take place in this building, as well, in front of capacity crowds that differ in number from the seats that are available for hockey games.
When basketball is played in the Canadian Tire Center, there is room for twenty thousand five hundred fans, without standing room. Concerts can accommodate the same number of music lovers.
And since the Canadian Tire Centre has an urban location and a large pool of actual and potential customers, it has hosted a broad variety of engaging events. Consider the following.
In 2009 the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship was played before a large and excited crowd. Then, in 2013, the rink was filled with talented female hockey stars playing their hearts out in the Women’s World Hockey Championship.
The great Wayne Gretzky played his last game as a professional in this arena in 1999. “The Great One,” as he was known, received a much-deserved standing ovation.
There have been many concerts at the Canadian Tire Centre, most of which starred top musical individuals and groups. Paul McCartney thrilled fans, as did Genesis, AC/DC, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, The Eagles, U2, Green Day, KISS, Madonna and many others.
Evangelist Billy Graham also included this arena on one of his last tours. As might be expected, he drew a capacity crowd.
It seems clear that the Canadian Tire Centre and the Ottawa Senators will continue to thrive in the years ahead.
Graphic via realfans