(ABOVE: In a video from the early 1990s, Bruce Firestone talks to reporters on the Huntmar Bridge overlooking the farmer’s field that would eventually become the Palladium, now known as Canadian Tire Centre. )
Bruce Firestone, the original owner of the modern-day Ottawa Senators, is planning to write a book about how the team came to be. He’s launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise some seed money for the project.
From the project’s description:
“The return of the National Hockey League to Canada’s capital city begins with Firestone in his late 20s buying a small real estate company with just $10,000 for a downpayment, and a yard of guts. He invested in a faltering business that turned into a commercial real estate empire in less than ten years; this became the foundation for a successful bid to bring the National League back to Ottawa after a nearly 60-year hiatus. He put it all on the line, risking tens of millions of dollars, to bring the Senators back to Ottawa and then build their new home arena, the Palladium, now Canadian Tire Centre. It became a high tension, multi-faceted endeavor with all the suspense of a Borgia series, with competing cities and political interests aligned against his team’s bid. Their resulting success changed the city and brought a sense of pride to all of Canada at a time when the country was already going through another tough recession and had lost two existing NHL teams, in Quebec and Winnipeg.”
Firestone’s plan to build an arena in Kanata and develop the surrounding area for commercial, residential and entertainment purposes has shaped the character of Ottawa’s west end, including Stittsville, over the past 25 years.
Firestone tells StittsvilleCentral.ca that fans have been asking him to write a book like this for over twenty years.
“It’s a good story, it inspires people, it’s an underdog story,” he says.