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Senators Will Stay In Ottawa

The Ottawa Senators will be staying right where they are.

Season-ticket holders responded to a drive for more money, preventing a possible sale of the team or a move to the United States.

"I'm just delighted to say the Ottawa Senators are remaining in Ottawa and I'm confident it will be for a very long time," team owner Rod Bryden said Friday.

Bryden said 87 percent of the season-ticket holders have renewed at higher prices for next year and he's assured his 90 percent target will be met shortly. The team has also sold about 1,500 new season tickets.

Ticket prices for next season were raised 7 percent across the board, with another 10 percent hike possible.

Despite a 4-year-old, state-of-the-art arena, near capacity crowds and a winning hockey club, Bryden had threatened to sell the franchise because of losses he said will approach $10 million this season.

Canada's six NHL franchises are at a disadvantage to U.S. teams because of the low value of the Canadian dollar.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman lauded the Senators' effort Friday, saying it should be a model for other Canadian teams.

"This effort is going to be something that all of us can look upon, particularly in some of the other Canadian markets where we still have work to do, as to what you have to do to level the playing field to deal with the burdens our clubs have to operate under," Bettman said.

The season-ticket drive began 19 days ago when Bryden challenged fans to ante up.

Bryden had already successfully lobbied for provincial and municipal tax breaks on the Senators' home at the Corel Centre. But a federal plan last month was rescinded after many in Canada denounced the deal as a handout to millionaires.

Bryden then turned to the local community as a last resort.

"If you want the sport here, you have to pay," he said last month.

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