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The following was sent this morning to myself, several bloggers (including Scarlett Ice and Puck Daddy) and the majority of local media. Commentary is open, so feel free to chime in:

***

RSA: REAL SENS ARMY
(REF: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=photos&gid=18029289557#/group.php?v=wall&gid=18029289557 )

When I read about the RSA on online forums and discussion boards, the comment made most by online critics is that there is nothing wrong with the atmosphere at Scotiabank Place, that they’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable nor have they ever been told to be quiet by the staff at SBP. I beg to differ...

On December 12th, the RSA had its biggest and most successful gathering to date. 40+ RSA members gathered in section 303 for the Carolina Hurricanes game with the intentions of being “Loud & Proud” as the official “SENS ARMY” would put it. With all the issues concerning attendance this year, you would think that the Ottawa Senators organization would’ve been delighted to see us! But, this couldn’t be any further from the truth...

From before they even dropped the puck, SBP ushers were eye-balling us from every post. We assumed they had never seen Sens fans as dedicated as us before and didn't think much of it (remember, this is Ottawa – home of some of the worst fans in Canada). But that was short-lived as the ushers began asking anyone near us “Are they too loud? Are they bothering you?” – Everyone simply answered “No, they’re fine”. Shortly after, 2 security guards showed up to tell us to deflate a beach ball one member had brought to the game – apparently due to safety reasons. Strange seeing as good’ole Spartacat himself launches hot dog missiles into the crowd at every game.... None the less, we complied, deflated the ball and continued to enjoy the game. This is when SBP staff stepped up their efforts and began random ID checks within our group only. I’d never seen this at a game before and didn’t understand seeing as the average age within the group was 25-35 and that we all provided identification when we purchased our beers. (I'd like to see them try doing random ID checks in the 100 level!) It was becoming painfully obvious that they really didn’t want us there! Not long after, one RSA member threw a handful of popcorn at one of his friends, which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Before we knew it, our section was surrounded by 8 police officers in full uniform. Our 2 friends were asked to leave and weren’t given any explanation. All of this happened before the half way mark of the 2nd period! And for the rest of the game people around us were continuously asked by ushers if we were bothering them, and the answer continued to be “NO!”.

This truly was one of the saddest things I have ever seen at Scotiabank Place (apart from Patrick Lalime’s post-season play). All we wanted to do was cheer on the home team to the best of our abilities, but instead of being encouraged, we were repeatedly harassed and demoralized by a rude and unprofessional staff who wanted nothing more than to kick us all out. I always knew how unfriendly and unwelcoming the staff at SBP could be, but never did I think it was this bad!

This is going way too far – we are sick and tired of going to our own arena simply to be made to feel unwelcome. We were the most supportive and vocal fans out of the mere 16000 that showed up. But instead of being praised we were treated like dirt. Treating customers this way isn’t good practice in any business, nevermind one that's struggling to keep it's customers returning. This must end, and until it does, you can expect to see us at games, still cheering our loudest and being supportive of the team despite what any usher might say.

GO SENS GO
RSA

20 responses to "Claims of harassment at SBP"

  1. Why am I not surprised?

    Anonymous

  2. As always, there has to be more to this story...

    The Universal Cynic

  3. Way more to that story, I'm guessing. Cops have better things to do than evict people who are sitting minding their own business.
    SYL

    Anonymous

  4. It's the same BS at the Rogers Centre. Absolutely, there are people who deserve to get kicked out for being asinine doodoo-heads. But there are far more people who like to get a little tipsy and lose their voices cheering for a team they drop hundreds of dollars on every year in merchandise and ticket costs. Unfortunately everybody aged 25-25, wearing a jersey and holding a beer, sign or horn, is painted with the same brush.

    Such Draconian security practices suck the life out of being a spectator in a world of woefully bland sporting events. Thumbs up (grudgingly) to the RSA for being loud, supportive fans. Thumbs down (emphatically) to the SBP staff for being stuffy old farts.

    KP

  5. Oops... I meant 25-35...

    KP

  6. I have seen this before...in a smaller dose. Sens vs Pens playoffs 2 years ago there was a Habs fan in our section (117) who wasn't making a peep just wearing a Habs jersey, why I don't know but...they kept asking if he was behaving.

    Yet the Leafs fans 2 sections over were being extremely abrasive and were not given any attention at all.

    I have seen ticket checks in the 100 level but never id checks.

    Anonymous

  7. 猶豫

  8. Like you, Erin, I suspect we are getting a heavily bleached version of the story with a LOT of important details omitted. (The allegedly innocent popcorn toss hints at it a bit.) The police are not going to get involved unless they have a pretty good reason.

    Dennis Prouse

  9. You should see the 300 section at Flames games during winter break up when the boy's want to spend some rig money.

    I have to hazzard a guess that it looks much the same as these "fans"

    $19 ticket and $500 booze bill

    Similar to a $8 ticket and $50 booze bill at the Thunderwolves game

    Scott

    Anonymous

  10. I was part of this group and can honestly say the details of this story are completely accurate.

    -1st of all, there was a group of 10-12 scouts canada kids in the row behind us, so as loud as we were cheering, we all made it a point to do so without swearing

    -beachball incident was a joke. Also, when i went to go back to my seat in the 2nd intermission...my row was full of ppl and the row directly in front of us was empty. So naturally, I walked threw the bottom row and climbed over a seat to get to mine. This prompted security to warn me that it a major insurance liability and i will be kicked out if I do it again.

    -basically the entire staff were dongs the entire night. When they would send more ushers, and more officers to chaperone our section, we would simply cheer louder and louder...again, without swearing or being rude.

    -finally he was right that our section was by far the loudest in a rather quiet library. not only did we get a full out arena wave going (whens the last time that happened) the sections around us were soaking in our enthusiasm and finally joined in.

    Embarrassing display by some 55+ hags who should be ushers at walmart, not a nhl arena

    URY

  11. Yeah there is sure to be more to this story, but even if not...bringing a beachball is a dumb idea. Throwing popcorn at your friends is a dumb idea. If popcorn was thrown then beer etc may have been as well

    Basically the "RSA" seems to be a rowdy gang that were bothering others with their antics. The ushers and cops likely saw this and ejected them.

    You can be a fan, cheer and have fun without throwing objects around the arena, I imagine...

    Anonymous

  12. Dear originator - would you be the same person who appeared rather intoxicated and was swearing at the cop and ever so daringly called him a pig as you were exiting. I too was leaving at the end of the 2nd period - albeit with a sleepy 6 year old.

    Anonymous

  13. Slightly unrelated, but on a beach ball note: I have vivid memories of getting heckled pretty loudly at a Renegades game at Frank Clair Stadium. Beach balls were pretty popular and one started to get tossed around our area (lower Southside Stands). I was having a drink of my beer when the damn ball clocked me from behind on the back of my head. Not happy, I grabbed the ball and deflated it. Man, was I not popular for a little while.

    I was satisfied, however. Beach balls and the like are a crappy idea at games. Bloody annoying, too.

    Von Allan

  14. Sorry, you had me up until the popcorn part of the story. Worst fight I ever saw at a sports event started exactly that way. Sounds to me like at least some of you were acting stupidly.

    Chorske

  15. These people behave nicely only when they see police officers around them. And even then they throw popcorn at each other. These imbeciles can go crazy in seconds and start harassing everyone around them. Good job of peacekeeping by SBP management and Ottawa police who still seem to care about families attending the venue.

    Anonymous

  16. I completely agree. the usher staff at SBP for the most part are on a power trip and don't want anyone to be loud and proud of the sens. I was at the carolina game and it was sad how few people were there. I suffered a similar experience last year at the SBP for a game against buffalo. My friends and I were the loudest in our section and after the second period, as we were leaving our section to get food and another beer we were asked to leave with no explanation. We argued for quite a while since we obviously didn't want to leave and we hadn't done anything near worthy of expulsion. The usher who was trying to make us leave called for backup usher who, upon arrival grabbed my arm and told me i'd have to leave. It wasn't until the third usher arrived after another five minutes or so of arguing that they realized we were the wrong people and we hadn't done anything wrong. we were allowed to return to our seats for the remaining half of the third period (without food or drink) but the night was ruined and our sens spirit crushed.

    Joel

  17. I was at a Canucks game a couple of years back cheering on Montreal with a few friends. We were loud but there was only 4 of us. And allwe were doing was chanting: "Go habs GO" Wewere told by the GM Place ushers that we could cheer for Montreal only if our team scored. Not any other time. I wrote to Orca bay and told I wasn't going to spend any money in GM place again and they sent me some lame reply stating that we must have been violent or something like that to have been admonished by the ushers.

    Anonymous

  18. A couple of years ago a friend of mine went to a Sens game and decided to cheer on the home team. After a couple of minutes some ushers came up to him and asked him to be quiet as other people were trying to enjoy the game. This incident doesn't really surprise me at all.

    Robbie

  19. It's the nature of Ottawa Senators hockey at Scotiabank Place, folks. The arena is geographically located at the very periphery of the city, meaning more DD's and Suburban families and old folks, and less urban-youthful-energetic 18 to 34's that make the home atmosphere buckwild.

    Toronto and Montreal have arenas in the downtown core linked to subway systems, meaning you can pre-drink and hit the game with your crew happy, cheerful, and ready to go, instead of staying completely sober in anticipation for the long commute home.

    That, in combination with the fact that we are already a conservative, public-servant-dominated, play it safe, and turn the lights out by 11 city in the first place, indicates it is only natural that the over the top policies at SBP reflect our Ottawan attitudes.

    Shame on SBP for creating and fostering an environment where Ottawa fans are moulded into quiet and respectful citizens concerned for everyone around them instead of for the needs of the team.

    I say get drunk and cheer as loudly as possible, wearing your sens colors with pride, in spite of what the retired usher above you has to say about it.

    JP

  20. Security/Cops have the right to card anyone they see with alcoholic beverages. Whether they were just doing it because you were a loud/large group is besides the point.

    Jenni