Ottawa

Ottawa Senators fan in American Midwest sometimes wonders why he bothers

Being a fan of the Ottawa Senators is tough these days. But it's especially tough — and perhaps a little bizarre — when you've lived in Kansas your whole life.

Woeful tweet from frustrated fan thousands of kilometres away catches on with locals

Kale Baire and his wife Tori Baire, wearing Ottawa Senators jerseys in their Kansas home. (Kale Baire)

In 2007, 11-year-old Kale Baire was in front of the television, flipping through the channels in his hometown of Ashland, Kan. — population: 900 or so — hoping to watch some bull-riding.

But the bull-riding channel in the small Kansas town was showing an NHL game instead, a quarter-final between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. And because he'd never heard of them before, he decided to root for Ottawa.

His new favourite team lost that night, but thus began Baire's 15-year journey of triumph and heartbreak (mostly heartbreak) cheering on the Ottawa Senators. 

Sometimes he regrets it.

On Monday, just before the trade deadline, Baire took to Twitter to lament his decision to cheer on the Sens, all the way from his current home in Wichita, Kan.

Kale Baire says he didn't know better when he became an Ottawa Senators fan 15 years ago. (@KaleJoshuaa/Twitter/CBC)

It got the attention of some sympathetic local Sens fans, as well as CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

"The Ottawa Senators obviously aren't a great team right now, but if you look back over the last 15 years that I've been rooting [for them], there have been some fantastic years," he told the show Tuesday.

He cited then rookie goalie Andrew Hammond's "hamburglar" run in 2014-15, the (unsuccessful) 2017 playoff bid, and the tail end of the "Pizza Line" of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza.

"You can relate the team to so many great feelings. And now I relate it to the joy of complaining online with a bunch of other people on Twitter."

LISTEN | Ottawa Morning's full interview with Baire:

Kale Baire became a Senators fan by chance when he saw a game on TV, even though he lives thousands of miles from Ottawa. As the trade deadline passes and the Senators continue to dwell near the bottom of the standings, he vents to Robyn Bresnahan about supporting a floundering team from afar.

Other Sens fans react to Baire's pain

Here's some of the reaction to Baire's woeful tweet.

CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning

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