Ottawa Magazine’s Kimberley Johnson is in Barbados for Hockey Week, courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing, Inc. Follow her dispatches from the Caribbean, as she explores sun, sand, and the Senators. She’ll also be tweeting (@ottawamag) and posting photos via Instagram (ottawa_magazine). And read an exclusive excerpt from Bruce Firestone’s new book about the Senators, Don’t Back Down: The Real Story of the Founding of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, on our website.
Christ Church, BARBADOS — “Indescribable,” “a good time,” and “like the play-offs”: That’s how Senators fans at Bert’s Bar described watching the Senators win over the L.A. Kings on Saturday night — the perfect way to end Hockey Week in Barbados.
After three years of the Hockey Week tour making Bert’s Bar its home from home, what does Bert Inniss, Co-owner of Bert’s Bar (with the Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk), think of the Hockey Week group?
“I love the Sens group, they’ve been coming down for years, and I look forward to it every year,” says Innis from his designated spot at the bar. And although Melnyk was not around this week to see the group he adds, “I know Eugene Melnyk really appreciates them.”
Ken McIssac, the e-marketing coordinator for the Senators, is on his second year with the trip, “I’ve missed one game the past three years … in comparison (to the games this week) this one was exciting for sure.”
Winning his ticket on the trip last year, McIssac says watching this game in Barbados is a real event.
“The experience here in Barbados, and at Bert’s, is different, in some ways. But it’s probably just the heat,” he laughs, “there’s just something about it. The atmosphere is so … I don’t know how to describe it.”
“Almost like the play-offs!” says returning Hockey Weeker Kathy Anderson.
“Electric,” agrees McIssac.
As for the two Habs and Leafs fans (one of each that were forthcoming to me) at Hockey Week, they declined to comment on this story and on the Senators win.
Despite tropical heat and humidity, Hockey Weekers donned long sleeved jerseys, hockey caps, and in two cases, died their beards and moustaches red. Prizes again were drawn, donated by a combination of Winchester Travel, the Senators, and Sens House Sport’s Bar and Grill.
For most people this is the end of their trip as the group leaves the island Sunday.
Riq Turner will be capping off his trip in probably the most unique way. Formerly with the band Ambush and currently singing with his own local group, the Riq Turner Band, he has been keeping the group entertained all week. Tonight during the game, he revealed he’s been asked to audition for a chance to sing at centre ice at the Canadian Tire Centre for the Senators.
“I was lucky enough to be called two days ago here in Barbados, to come in Monday afternoon, and sing.”
Turner says he’ll be cutting it close.
“Luckily we get home Monday morning. So I’ll go home, go to Perth, get ready, come back and sing the anthem for the Senators. The irony is that I’m on a Senators trip.”
Kathy Anderson adds that the Senators factor keeps people in touch after the trip ends. Anderson and her husband, Brian, have been returning to Barbados with the Hockey Week group every year since it began three years ago and she still sees many people at the games.
“Every year you come, you meet new couples. Then you go to the games and you’re like ‘Hey!’ ” Anderson explains, “Because you know (them so well). It’s good to meet people, and then see everybody at home.”
One of the couples Kathy and Brian Anderson have come to know are Val and Jeff MacIntosh, season ticket holders they met on the trip last year.
“It’s really great that it does not have to be the last time,” agrees Val MacIntosh.