Committee votes to ban Leaf jerseys at Corel Centre

Maple Leaf fans beware. Ottawa councillors want to ban your hockey sweaters from the Corel Centre.

Coun. Rick Chiarelli wants the Senators' home rink to be a Senators-paraphernalia-only zone.

Because of the budget-cutting exercise, there's been nothing but negative news coming out of Ottawa city council committee meetings these days.

So, was Tuesday's decision a diverson from it all? Or was it real?

Every councillor on the committee voted in favour of it.

Coun. Chiarelli admits this resolution is meant to lighten the mood of Ottawa citizens. But he says he means every word of this resolution.

"The Senators have been an integral part of the economy in Ottawa, and our civic branding, and it's offensive to [have] a bunch of people walking around with Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys when civic pride is on the line."

Chiarelli believes the resolution will pass when the full city council votes on it later this month.

"I've been to the Leafs-Sens games, and up to 20 per cent of the people are cheering for the Leafs, wearing Leafs' paraphernalia. That can't be good for progress. It can't be good for the city's image or branding."

If city council approves it, city officials say that doesn't mean bylaw officers will kick people out of the Corel Centre at the next game. But food-bank officials will be close at hand to collect donations from offending fans as they leave.

Mayor Bob Chiarelli says, "Certainly it's tongue-in-cheek. It's meant to create some excitement around the city. We want the Maple Leaf fans in the Corel Centre to realize that the city is behind the Senators."

City council will vote on the issue on March 24. The next game between the Senators and Leafs is April 3.