Sens Foundation cuts ties with Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators Foundation is cutting ties with Capital Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the Senators hockey team, the charitable foundation said in a news release Thursday.

Charitable foundation declined to participate in RFP process, says hockey club

The Canadian Tire Centre, the home rink of the Ottawa Senators, is pictured in Ottawa. The Ottawa Senators Foundation announced its relationship with the NHL club will end after July 31, 2020. (Jana Chytilova/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators Foundation is cutting ties with Capital Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the Senators hockey team.

Founded in 1998, the foundation raised millions of dollars to support local charities and community programs that help children and youth across Ottawa.

The current agreement with the NHL club, which grants the foundation the right to use team trademarks including the Senators name and logos, expires on July 31, and won't be renewed, the foundation said in a news release.

In a written statement, the Ottawa Senators said the club told the foundation "months ago" it wanted to "open a fair and transparent request for proposals [RFP] process" once the licensing agreement expired.

"The foundation leadership protested and informed the Ottawa Senators they would not comply with an RFP process," said the statement from the Senators.

"Today, senior executive management and the foundation's board leadership formally declined the extension and the opportunity to participate in an RFP process."

Foundation thanks Senators

The foundation said it has "benefited immensely" from its relationship with the Ottawa Senators.

"We have worked closely with the club, its players, alumni, staff, corporate partners and fans as well as the community at large, and together we have made a measurable difference in the lives of children and youth throughout the National Capital Region," its statement said.

The foundation did not provide a reason why it is ending its relationship with the hockey club on Thursday.

"As a first priority, we will look to fulfil our current operational, legal and charitable obligations by July 31, 2020, after which we will focus on the foundation's future," the statement said. 

"In the meantime, we thank the Ottawa Senators for 22 years of partnership and the generosity of people and business throughout the region for supporting the work of the foundation resulting in thousands of game-changing opportunities for kids."

Charitable work will continue, Sens say

The foundation has been criticized in the past by a charity watchdog over the amount of money it raises that actually went to good causes. A 2018 analysis by Charity Intelligence Canada found that only 46 cents of every dollar donated to the Senators Foundation actually makes it to the recipients the organization supports.

The hockey franchise says it wants to broaden the scope of the people it helps with its next charitable venture.

"The Ottawa Senators will continue its support for child and youth empowerment, mental health, and paediatric and palliative care," the team's statement said.

"The club also hopes to broaden and expand its reach to include the scope of aid the foundation provides to include, for example, assistance for victims of domestic abuse and organ transplant educational resources."

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