Phillips returns to center stage as senators rename business operations

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The official return of Chris Phillips to the Ottawa Senators organization is another positive element in the club’s rebranding exercise.

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Phillips is now the Senators’ new vice president of business operations, working to help restore long-lost relationships with the city’s business community.

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In July 2021, Phillips, who holds the franchise record for most games played, abruptly resigned as general manager of the Sens Community Foundation, following a dispute with late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

“Honestly, it’s something I was thinking about and I’m excited to be involved, to work with some of the most senior leaders in the organization to try and learn the trade,” he said.

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Although Phillips has been busy with other endeavors outside of hockey, including real estate, he laughed off suggestions that those endeavors helped him land the new gig.

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“Little things like that definitely help, but I don’t know if I needed it on my resume. My matches played (1,179) could have been on the CV,” he said.

Phillips, who was a big part of the Senators’ dominant turn-of-the-century teams, says he can feel the buzz of excitement in the air from everyone, including the business community who had a strained relationship with Melnyk. .

As part of the new job, Phillips also gets a first-hand look at the massive project to potentially build a new arena at LeBreton Flats.

“There’s definitely been a steady release of positive stories, which is, to be quite honest, a nice change.”

In addition to Phillips’ return, his popular longtime colleague Sen. Chris Neil was promoted to vice president of business and community development. Neil is also an important part of the organization’s renewed commitment to rebuilding trust with the business community.

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All of the above naturally raises the question of whether Daniel Alfredsson would ever return to the Senators in an official capacity.

Alfredsson spent less than two years as a senior hockey operations adviser before stepping down in 2017 over a clash with Melnyk.

Alfredssson, the most popular player in franchise history, was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame this summer. Before Alfredsson is officially inducted into the Hall in November, the Senators will pay their respects in a pre-game ceremony.

When asked if he could play a part in bringing Alfredsson back to the front office, Phillips replied, “If I do that maybe they’ll give me a statue.”

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