Ottawa

Ottawa Senators to play Ukrainian anthem before home games

The Senators will play the Ukrainian national anthem before each of their remaining 13 home games as part of a plan to support that country's people, owner Eugene Melnyk wrote Wednesday.

Owner Eugene Melnyk's parents were born in Ukraine

A fan waves the Ukrainian flag during the first intermission of an NHL hockey game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens in Ottawa Feb. 26, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The Ottawa Senators will play the Ukrainian national anthem before each of their remaining 13 home games as part of a plan to support the country's people, owner Eugene Melnyk wrote Wednesday.

Melnyk's parents were born in Ukraine and came to Canada before he was born. He writes in a letter released by the team and printed in a full-page Ottawa Citizen newspaper ad that he considers himself "a proud Ukrainian" as well as a proud Canadian.

As the seventh day of the war in Ukraine began Wednesday, Russian forces intensified their attacks on major urban areas, including the capital, Kyiv, as well as the strategic port cities of Odesa and Mariupol in the south.

Amid the fighting, the humanitarian situation worsened. More than 874,000 people have fled Ukraine in search of safety in neighbouring countries, a UN refugee agency spokesperson told CBC News Network on Wednesday.

"The unprovoked assault and the ensuing carnage, unnecessary human, economic and social destruction of a sovereign country is unspeakable and unacceptable in a civilized world," Melnyk's ad reads.

"And while the images from Ukraine show courage and resilience, they also cry out for help."

Along with playing the Ukrainian anthem, the Sens also plan to donate some proceeds from 50/50 draws to organizations providing humanitarian and medical aid in Ukraine and find ways to use the Canadian Tire Centre as a drop-off point for supplies, the letter reads.

The next Sens home game is March 10 against the Seattle Kraken.

Sport-specific sanctions have targeted Russian and Belarusian athletes, teams, owners and events, including a move by the International Paralympic Committee Wednesday to have Russians and Belarusians in Beijing compete as "neutral athletes."

It won't be the first time the Ukrainian national anthem has been sung ahead of an NHL game in response to Russia's assault on the country.

WATCH | Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus sings before Jets-Canadiens game:

Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus sing Canadian and Ukrainian national anthems ahead of Canadiens-Jets game

6 months ago
Duration 4:04
The group performed both anthems as a showing of support for Ukraine.

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