Daly: Senators' lagging attendance is head-scratching
Marc DesRosiers / USA TODAY Sports

Not even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has an explanation for the alarming lack of enthusiasm about the Senators in Ottawa.

The Senators struggled to fill the Canadian Tire Centre during last year's playoff run and that trend has flowed into this season. Ottawa ranks 25th in average attendance, and last among Canadian-based teams, according to ESPN.

Those figures have left owner Eugene Melnyk dumbfounded, a feeling Daly echoed on Saturday.

"You kind of scratch your head as to why attendance wasn't an issue when the team was competing for conference championships every year in the early 2000s," Daly told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.

"From my perspective, it's a head-shaker that this team isn't doing better from an attendance standpoint and a fan's standpoint ... This is a very competitive team in a hockey market and it's not something we've experienced in Canada in probably 20 years."

Earlier this season, the Senators covered over 1,500 seats in the Canadian Tire Centre to make it easier to reach capacity.

There is widespread belief that a move from suburban Kanata to downtown Ottawa will boost turnout at the gate.

Ottawa is continuing efforts to build a new arena in the city's downtown core. Negotiations are ongoing with the National Capital Commission for the right to build at LeBreton Flats, a neighborhood situated minutes from Parliament Hill.

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Daly: Senators' lagging attendance is head-scratching
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