Ottawa Senators break NHL record with citizenship ceremony

Times India Today | : Feb 26,2019 07:50 PM IST

The Ottawa Senators are hosting a special citizenship ceremony, welcoming 186 new citizens from 39 countries into the Canadian family today.

The ceremony started at Canadian Tire Centre at 2:30 p.m., ahead of tonight’s game with the Calgary Flames. This is the largest Canadian citizenship ceremony ever hosted by an NHL team. Once sworn in, Canada’s new citizens will walk the red carpet onto centre ice at 7 p.m. to sing “O Canada” to open the game. They will then stay and watch the game as guests of the Ottawa Senators.

The ceremony is being attended by Nicolas Ruszkowski, COO, Senators Sports & Entertainment, and on behalf of the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, by Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Member of Parliament for Kanata–Carleton. Chris Neil, former Ottawa Senators player, is also in attendance. Citizenship Judge Rania Sfeir is presiding over the ceremony. Minister Hussen will join the new citizens in singing the national anthem.

The collaboration between Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Ottawa Senators complements the department’s new #ImmigrationMatters initiative, which aims to demonstrate the benefits of immigration to Canadian communities and promote positive engagement between newcomers and Canadians.


“We are pleased to collaborate with the Ottawa Senators in this special citizenship ceremony, the largest ever hosted by an NHL team. Immigration enriches Canada and ensures our nation’s prosperity and success. It is important that we recognize the many contributions immigrants bring to our country. I am honoured to welcome today’s new citizens to a country that embraces diversity, equality and all our new citizens.”

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“If our partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada teaches us anything, it is that the new citizens we will be honouring this weekend are as Canadian as hockey itself. We could not be more proud to welcome them home.”

– Nicolas Ruszkowski, COO, Senators Sports & Entertainment

Quick facts

  • The citizenship ceremony is the end of the immigration and settlement process for newcomers to Canada. Taking the oath of citizenship is a necessary legal step to citizenship.

  • While singing “O Canada” on centre ice to start the game tonight, the new Canadians will be accompanied by OrKidstra, an Ottawa-based social development program that empowers kids through the universal language of music.

  • Canada has one of the highest naturalization rates in the world. About 85% of eligible landed immigrants become Canadian citizens.

  • Canada’s identity has been largely shaped by the significant cultural and economic contributions of immigrants.

  • Over the last 10 years, Canada has welcomed nearly 1.7 million new Canadians.

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