On Thursday February 27, the Ottawa Senators Foundation is hosting their annual telethon powered by Mitel; a show dedicated to sharing stories about the programs and initiatives helping local kids reach their goals.
Across the world of hockey, top prospects are honing their skills in development leagues like the AHL and OHL—all in hopes of someday suiting up in the National Hockey League. And for years, one of them was Scott Sabourin, a 27-year-old right winger who made his NHL debut this season with the Ottawa Senators.
A native of Orléans, Sabourin was just a toddler when his parents took him skating for the first time. He says that his love for the game took off from there, looking up to players like Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher, and Chris Neil during his childhood.
“It was a great time growing up,” Sabourin says. “Ottawa has always been quite the hockey town, and I think it always will be.”
After getting his start with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, Sabourin spent six seasons in the AHL, pushing himself to improve every day and secure a chance to compete on hockey’s biggest stage.
“It took a long time to get to the NHL. Doing it at my age is a little unusual, so it was a bit of a different road,” Sabourin says. “But when I made it, it was a very surreal feeling of accomplishment that validated all the hard work and effort I’ve put in over the years. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
“It took a long time to get to the NHL. Doing it at my age is a little unusual, so it was a bit of a different road.”
Sabourin didn’t get here alone. If it wasn’t for the support he received from his family, coaches, and other adult role models at every step of the way, Sabourin questions if he’d even be playing professional hockey.
“My parents have been there since day one—a lot of long drives to the rink or tournaments in Toronto, London, and elsewhere,” says Sabourin. “Their whole life was put on hold to help me pursue my career and passion. Without them, I would be doing who knows what, so I am forever grateful for their support and the opportunities that have come my way.”
However, not all kids are as lucky as Sabourin and other top prospects currently chasing their dreams. Around Ottawa, countless youth envision a successful future and desire to follow their hearts. They may dream of becoming a doctor, engineer, lawyer, or even a professional athlete—yet far too many of them lack the resources and support to feel motivated and hopeful about the possibility.
The Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and its Foundation believe that all kids deserve an opportunity to chase their dreams. With support from the community, the organization is working tirelessly to make that a reality.
“It’s huge to give them the opportunity to get out on the ice and play hockey or participate in other sports,” says Sabourin. “For some of these kids, all they need is a little support and someone in their corner. And once they have that, they can grow as an individual and become the best person they can be.”
Through its initiatives, the Foundation breaks down financial barriers that make youth sports inaccessible for many families. Its fundraising dollars cover registration fees, transportation, equipment costs, and more—allowing “top prospects” in the community to grow into their full potential.
“Without the Foundation, my three kids wouldn’t be in group sports,” said Kristen Lewis, mother of three. Her children participate in the SENS Power Plays program amongst others. “Hockey is a very expensive sport, with each kid costing over $600. And when you factor in the other sports they want to play—as a single mom, it’s impossible.”
In the past year alone, funds raised by the Sens Foundation have benefited over 60,000 youngsters throughout the Ottawa region, eastern and central Ontario, and western Quebec. Aside from its annual gala, the Foundation relies on fundraisers like its in game and online 50/50 to let deserving kids grow up the way Sabourin did.
“If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, try something else.”
And for all of the young top prospects participating in the Foundation’s programming, Sabourin has a message.
“Show up with a positive attitude and good mindset, and put your work in,” he says. “But most importantly, make sure you’re having fun. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, try something else. You always want to do what’s best for yourself.”
Support the Ottawa Senators Foundation today by making a donation, and by tuning in to the Ottawa Senators Foundation Telethon powered by Mitel on Thursday, February 27 beginning at 6:30pm prior to the Senators game vs the Vancouver Canucks on TSN 5.
All donations leading up to the game will be matched by Mitel. To make a contribution, please:
- Call 1-844-8GO-SENS (846-7367)
- Visit www.sensfoundation.com
- Text “SENS” to 45678 for a $10 donation
- Text “GOSENS” to 45678 for a $20 donation.
One Team, One Community, One Goal.
The Ottawa Senators Foundation Telethon is Thursday February 27, 2020, when the Ottawa Senators play at home versus the Vancouver Canucks. Every donation made before the game will be matched by Mitel, the telethon sponsor.