Senators owner Eugene Melnyk pledges support for Ukraine in open letter

“Today, we are all Ukrainians.”

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Eugene Melnyk wants to lend a hand to those battling for freedom in the Ukraine.

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The Ottawa Senators owner took out a full-page advertisement in both Postmedia newspapers in the nation’s capital Wednesday for an open letter saying he would try to assist those in the Ukraine in the unprovoked war with Russia.

Melnyk, whose parents were both born in the Ukraine, has strong ties with that country.

“I am a proud and patriotic Canadian, born and raised in this special country. I am also a proud Ukrainian, the son of parents who were both born in the Ukraine,” Melnyk wrote in the heartfelt open letter. “The steadfast will and determination that is my heritage has attracted the admiration and respect of people around the world.

“Today, we are all Ukrainians. The unprovoked assault and unnecessary campaign, economic and social destruction of a sovereign country is unspeakable and unacceptable in a civilized world. And, while the images from Ukraine show courage and resilience, they’re also a cry out for help.”

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Melnyk said he was heartened by the support he had witnessed for the people of Ukraine so far, but wanted to do more. He went on to detail initiatives involving his National Hockey League team.

• The Ukrainian anthem will be played before home games for the remainder of the 2021-22 NHL schedule.

• The Senators Community Foundation will direct some of the funds from its 50/50 draws to charitable causes to help the Ukraine.

• The Senators will work with the Ukrainian community in Ottawa to facilitate charitable donations for that country. The Canadian Tire Center may become a drop-off point for people who want to donate clothing, medical supplies and other items.

• As an honorary director of Help Us Help the Children, a foundation focused on helping disadvantaged children in the Ukraine and Canada, Melnyk will continue to support its efforts.

Melnyk said he was hopeful people in the Ottawa area would continue to support the Ukraine’s efforts.

“I am confident our collective actions and contributions will make a significant difference in the lives of Ukrainians who are currently under siege,” Melynk said.

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