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The Senators Community Foundation and its new Executive Director, Chris Phillips, were announced today at the Brewer Park testing facility.
Ottawa Senators president of business operations, Anthony Leblanc, talking to the media announcing the organization’s new charity foundation and that Chris Phillips is the Executive Director.
Chris Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson.
OTTAWA – The Senators Community Foundation and its new Executive Director, Chris Phillips, were announced today at the Brewer Park testing facility, in Ottawa Wednesday Aug 12, 2020.
The Big Rig will play a big role for the newly-established Senators’ Community Foundation.
Chris Phillips, the franchise-leader in games played with 1,179 in his career with Ottawa, was introduced as the executive director of the foundation during a press conference Tuesday at Brewer Park.
Senators’ president of business operations Anthony Leblanc told reporters Phillips, 42, who had his No. 4 retired in February, was the natural choice to take over the foundation. The club was forced to go a new route when the board of directors of the Senators’ Foundation opted to part ways with organization when their agreement with the club expired July 31.
The Senators are determined to make sure more of the money raised by the foundation is used to help charitable organizations in Ottawa.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to raise as much money as we can so we can continue to give back to the community,” Leblanc said. “We’re going through the appropriate regulatory bodies to get all the rules and regulations in place. Our anticipation is that when the new hockey season begins, and the Senators are back on the ice, our foundation will be in place.”
Having Phillips, a respected member of the community along with his wife Erin, as the face of the organization is a smart move. It was an idea put forward by Senators’ chief revenue officer Mark Bonneau, a day oner in the organization, to Leblanc about a month ago. They discussed it with owner Eugene Melnyk and he was confident Phillips was the right person for the job.
“I thought it was fantastic idea, we presented it to Eugene and he couldn’t have agreed more,” said Leblanc. “We reached out to Chris and luckily from day one he was excited about the idea. There wasn’t a whole lot of back and forth other than what are we going to do to raise more money and give more money back?”
“It was seamless and we couldn’t be happier to make this announcement.”
Leblanc told this newspaper in June the board of directors of the old foundation wanted an automatic one-year extension, but the Senators didn’t want to go that route without a business plan in place. The club offered to extend the agreement for four months, but the board opted to go in another direction without the club’s brand.
“We wish the Ottawa-Gatineau Foundation the best of luck, any organization out there trying to raise money is a good thing, but for us this is day one and this is the starting point for the foundation” said Leblanc. “What has been historical is the Senators involvement is raising money in a variety of events in raising money and through the 50/50.
“Our hope and expectation is we will continue to do so.”
Phillips, Melnyk, Leblanc and Bonneau are in the process of establishing a new board of directors before the season is scheduled to get under way Dec. 1. Phillips is respected and has been one of the faces of the franchise since he arrived in Ottawa.
“We are extremely proud to have Chris Phillips lead our foundation as he personifies what a community leader is all about,” said Melnyk in a statement. “From being our first overall pick in 1996, to his 17 remarkable seasons that led to his jersey retirement earlier this year, he’s a natural fit for this role. His energy, enthusiasm and his community involvement will take our foundation to a whole new level.”
Phillips did a lot of work with the former foundation and views his new job as an extension of that role.
“They’ve done amazing work and we’ve done a lot of work with them over the years,” Phillips said. “This is where are today and I’m excited about moving forward, working closely with the team, with alumni to get out there and do some good work.
“We’re just kind of starting from scratch. It’s a great opportunity at how the old foundation operated for so long and maybe things that could be improved upon. It allows that reset. I’m just excited about getting a new board together, looking at where our focus is going to be, if there’s going to be one. We talked about, given the times we live in right now, it goes well beyond youth.
“There’s a lot of people struggling through this pandemic in a wide variety of areas. We’re just going to get started as quick as we can and raise as much money as we can and help as many people as we can.”
The foundation will continue its strong relationship with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Roger Neilson House and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club.
“The support of the team, and the relationship with the team, has meant a lot in terms of the delivery or programs and services,” said Alex Munter, chief executive officer of CHEO. “It’s also meant a lot to the kids, talking about the patients, who are kids, but also the big kids who work at CHEO.”
The reason the announcement was made at the testing centre is part of the initiative includes the organization giving bobbleheads to children that go through Brewer Park to do the exam daily.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020