A small crowd of Ottawa Senators fans rallied on Parliament Hill in support of Jason Spezza on Saturday afternoon as rumours fly that the captain is leaving the team.
Sporting jerseys and waving team flags, more than 30 fans marched to the ByWard Market behind an "In Spezza We Trust" banner — chanting his name along the way.
"There's only one Jason Spezza. One Jason Spezza. Walking along, singing this song, walking in a Spezza wonderland," they sang to the tune of Winter Wonderland.
Fan group Red Scarf Union organized the event to show disappointment that one of the team's leading goal scorers could be gone next season.
"There's been a lot of backlash in the media over not making the playoffs, a lot of blame laid on his shoulders. It's unfortunate," said Joanne Luedee, pointing to the team's eleventh-place finish this season.
"I freaking want Spezza to stay. I 100 per cent want Spezza to stay."
Shaun Kehoe said some fans are too hard on Spezza — and the rally is to show him that he has a following of die-hard supporters.
"He could get five points one night but all they're talking about is the one time he went offside," he said. "I don't care what the talk is. I don't care what everybody else is saying. He's our captain and we're behind him no matter what."
Luedee and Kehoe both said it would be tough on the team to lose its leader for a second year in a row, after longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson opted to leave the team to join the Detroit Red Wings last summer.
The rally was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., just at the puck was dropping in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers.
Organizers said the game might be part of the reason the turnout at the rally was lower than expected. Dozens more had confirmed on Facebook that they would be in attendance.