City hall honours former Senators president, CEO Mlakar

During his first winter in Ottawa in 1996, Roy Mlakar took a skatealong the Rideau Canal and counted the hockey sweaters he passed alongthe way.

During his first winter in Ottawa in 1996, Roy Mlakar took a skate along the Rideau Canal and counted the hockey sweaters he passed along the way.

At the time, he saw nothing but “ugly Leafs sweaters, Habs sweaters and even Nordiques sweaters.”

When Mlakar took the job as president and CEO of the Ottawa Senators, the team was still struggling to establish itself and declared bankruptcy in 2003. Since then it has become a model franchise for NHL off the ice and for a time was an elite franchise on the ice.

Last winter, he did the count again and out of 500 sweaters, 413 had the Senators logo.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Mlakar at an event held in his honour at city hall yesterday.

After 13 seasons with the club, Mlakar left his post with the Ottawa Senators after his contract ran out on July 1.

Yesterday, Mayor Larry O’Brien officially declared Sept. 1 Roy Mlakar Day.