Celebrating Active Citizenship with the Ottawa Senators

News release

20 families from 20 countries take oath of citizenship before NHL hockey game

January 18, 2020 – Ottawa, ON – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) today partnered with the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club in a special citizenship ceremony, where 20 families from 20 countries were welcomed into the Canadian family ahead of the hockey game between the Senators and the visiting Calgary Flames.

Following this special ceremony, the new citizens helped open the game with the singing of the national anthem, accompanied by the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Also in attendance as a special guest was Ismail Ayyoub, who became a Canadian citizen a year ago at a similar special ceremony with the Ottawa Senators. In the past year, Ismail has excelled in the sport of wrestling, bringing home the gold medal for Canada at the Pan American Games in Mexico. Ismail embodies what it means to be an active citizen by mentoring younger wrestlers and encouraging others to get involved in their communities.


“We are delighted to once again partner with the Ottawa Senators for this special citizenship ceremony. Hockey is an integral part of Canadian culture. It plays a central role in bringing people together and creating a sense of community. I encourage all Canadians to demonstrate active citizenship by seeking out opportunities to support and enrich their community.”

—The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“In Canada, hockey is a cultural phenomenon that brings people together on outdoor rinks, in arenas and at NHL games across our land. It is an honour for the Ottawa Senators to host the dozens of new Canadians who are taking their oath of citizenship at the Canadian Tire Centre and to welcome them into our community. In 2 weeks, we will enter the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone month, and in that spirit, we applaud and encourage everyone living in the National Capital Region to throw on some skates, pick up a stick and enjoy our great game, Canada’s greatest game.”

—Jim Little, Chief Executive Officer, Senators Sports and Entertainment

“I really enjoy coaching and mentoring younger wrestlers. It’s important to have role models to look up to because they can help you discover your own dream. I’m fortunate to be able to travel around the world and be exposed to new styles of wrestling. I learn these new techniques to bring back to my fellow teammates, so we can grow together. To know that I’m helping others the way people have helped me is an amazing feeling.”

—Ismail Ayyoub, new Canadian and Pan American Games champion

Quick facts

  • A citizenship ceremony is an important step in the immigration and settlement process for newcomers to Canada. Taking the oath of citizenship is a legislative requirement for adults to become Canadian citizens.

  • The ceremony does not signal the end of the citizenship journey but rather marks its beginning. Active citizenship, engaging with a community, is an important part of being a Canadian.

  • Over the last decade, Canada has welcomed almost 1.7 million new Canadians.

Associated links


Mathieu Genest
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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