Today, is municipal election day in Ontario. Some of my friends are running for city of Ottawa council. Here’s what I had to say this morning to one of them.
Both (my souse) Dawn and I talk about you often and we wish you all the success today. The thing is… we are proud of you.
Not many people understand how difficult and scary it is to put your name forward for a role like this; then do all the work with NO advance knowledge if you will be successful. It’s like Christopher Columbus’ first visit to the new world, this is your first voyage into the unknown and we both salute you for having the courage to do it.
Here’s an excerpt from Don’t Back Down, the real story of the founding of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and why big leagues matter in which we decided, even if we were unsuccessful in our 1st attempt (to get an expansion franchise), we would congratulate the winners and then announce, “We’ll be back.”
NHL security, two of them, took us down a back stairway to the basement of the Breakers.
We were standing in a narrow, dark corridor. The pipes were dripping on us. Half the ugly fluorescent lights were either out or flickering. The prep kitchen was nearby, I could smell it. There was garbage everywhere, I could smell that too. I didn’t see Jack Nicholson, but I did see Cyril, Randy, Jim, Gary and Elliot all looking at me with drawn, haggard faces. We all assumed that the winners were upstairs on the main floor (where the BOG had been meeting for five hours) celebrating, and the losers were in the basement looking like and being treated like heck. That would be us.
“Guys, I am really proud of what we’ve done,” I said turning around to face my crew in that crowded corridor. “We could not have done more. You could not have given more. It looks like, today, we are not successful, but we going to act like the good Canadians we are. We’re going to thank the NHL for allowing us to be part of this amazing expansion process, then we are going to congratulate the winners, whoever they are. After that, we are going to hold our own press conference. And here’s what we’re going to say—‘We were not successful today, but we’re going to go back to Ottawa, and we are going to take our own provincial government to court, to the Ontario Municipal Board. We’re going to win that hearing and get our new arena approved. Then next year, at the NHL’s next winter meetings, we’re coming back here and we’re going to bring back the Ottawa Senators then, you can count on it.’”
My dad told me, “Bruce, never take ‘no’ for an answer.” I got your message, pops.
There was some snuffling going on amongst our group, and there were a few people red eyed from fatigue and emotion. But I watched each of them square their shoulders, getting ready for what was to come.
Then NHL security took us upstairs.
As we entered the room, Marcel Aubut came up to me. “Felicitation, mon ami,” he said and gave me a big hug. Marcel is a big man. It was a powerful hug.
I thought he was congratulating us on a good try. I kind of brushed him off. He looked at me quizzically, but said nothing more.
I walked to the front of the room where John Ziegler was standing. Next to him was Phil Esposito.
“Bruce!” said Phil, thinking he’d won for Tampa because he’d always said our bid was best.
“Phil!” I said, my worst fears confirmed because I’d always thought his bid was the worst.
Then with Phil standing on Ziegler’s left and me on his right, I stared down wonderingly at the conference room table and read—
THE NHL IS PLEASED AND PROUD TO ANNOUNCE TODAY THAT CONDITIONAL FRANCHISES HAVE BEEN AWARDED TO THE CITIES OF… OTTAWA AND TAMPA
Bruce Firestone (left) with NHL president John Ziegler and Tampa Bay Lightning Co-founder Phil Esposito, Minutes Later
“Holy sh*t, we just won this thing,” Randy Sexton inelegantly said.
I turned to John and asked, “What was the vote?”
“Excuse me?” he replied.
“What was the vote for Ottawa, John?”
“It was unanimous, 21-0.”
Amazing, I thought, we got every vote even the one who’d said we’d never, ever, ever get a franchise in Ottawa. Damn we’re good.
End Part 1
 By this time, we’d adopted Elliot Richardson as one of our own.
As Sir Winston Churchill said, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker
Ottawa Senators founder
MAKING IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
FREEDOM VIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND PB4L, PERSONAL BUSINESS FOR LIFE
FEHAJ, FOR EVERY HOME A JOB
Don’t Back Down is available from, https://brucemfirestone.com/product/dont-back-down/
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