By Jacob Hoytema
With the Ottawa Senators officially eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, many local bars and eateries say they are missing the traffic and revenue that normally comes with a successful hockey season.
During last year’s long Senators playoff run, local fans gained Internet notoriety for a viral video in which throngs of pub-going Sens supporters would dance in the crosswalk on Elgin Street.
This year, however, given the team’s poor on-ice performance, Centretown’s bar districts have seen nothing resembling such high traffic.
Becky Stachel, owner of the Elgin Street venue St. Louis Bar & Grill, told the Ottawa Citizen earlier this week that her restaurant has seen fewer customers than usual this spring.
“The Sens do definitely play a part in our early summer business when they do make the playoffs,” Stachel told the Citizen.
The Ottawa Senators were mathematically eliminated from the NHL post-season on March 22 after a 6-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The entire season has been one of struggling — and failing — to find the success of last year.
The Senators have been a consistent playoff team in the past, having qualified for the post-season in sixteen of the past twenty years.
Since their journey to the Stanley Cup final in 2007, the city has traditionally transformed Elgin Street into the “Sens Mile,” an area specifically designated for celebrating the team during playoff runs. In such years, the Mile is a destination for fans all over the city to congregate at local businesses.
In addition to the disappointing Senators season, it’s expected that Elgin Street merchants will also face difficult conditions due to a major reconstruction project that will make it more difficult for pedestrians and vehicles to travel the area.