The Ottawa Senators have hired a new chief executive officer with a mandate to reengage fans amid ongoing attendance woes.
Jim Little, 55, has been named CEO of Senators Sports and Entertainment, the team said in a news release Friday.
Little will oversee the organization’s business strategy. He was most recently executive vice-president at Shaw Communications.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said Little’s appointment came after an extensive search “to find the right leader to guide the organization into the next decade.”
Little said Melnyk has asked him to lead the business side of the team, “with a clear priority to re-create a strong, positive relationship with this community.”
“I want to thank him for the confidence he has shown in me and for the clarity of the mandate to be creative, to engage fans, partners, business and civic leaders in getting this chemistry right for the long term," Little said.
The Senators are last in NHL attendance this season, averaging just over 11,700 fans per home game, according to numbers compiled by ESPN.
Prior to joining Shaw, Little had senior executive roles at the Royal Bank of Canada, Bell Canada and Bombardier.
He has also served on several boards of directors, including the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Porter Airlines, Pathways to Education, the Public Policy Forum and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Little is the Senators’ first chief executive since Tom Anselmi left the team in early 2018 after one year in the role.
Anselmi was appointed after Melnyk fired longtime president and CEO Cyril Leeder, one of the franchise’s founders.