Montreal girl sent home for wearing Senators jersey
Published Tuesday, May 7, 2013 6:39PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:07PM EDT
A Montreal girl who was sent home from school for wearing an Ottawa Senators jersey gets to watch her favourite team play a playoff home game Tuesday night -- at the invitation of the team’s owner.
When Maple Grove Elementary school allowed students to wear Montreal Canadiens’ jerseys rather than their uniforms for game one of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series, Keila Penner wore her favourite team’s jersey -- her favourite team being the Senators.
Penner endured taunts by her schoolmates until her teacher sent her to the principal’s office. The 11-year-old was then given an ultimatum: change into a white T-shirt, or call her father to take her home.
“I didn’t think it was fair,” Penner told CTV Montreal. “I’m allowed to have my own opinion.”
In the end, she opted to sacrifice a day at school to stay a loyal fan. Her father fully supported her decision.
“I think they missed an opportunity to teach a good lesson,” Cary Penner told CTV. “Especially about bullying and bullying is such a big thing now.”
Penner’s loyalty did not go unnoticed by the team. Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk invited the entire Penner family to Tuesday night’s game in Ottawa.
“They really wanted to give Keila a gift for her supporting the team,” Cary Penner said, “and so they invited us out to tonight’s game.”
At 3 p.m., a limo arrived at the Penner family home to drive them to Ottawa.
“I’m speechless,” Keila said, as were her brothers, Jeffrey and Jordan.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Jordan said. “It’s almost like living in a movie.”
Senators’ limo driver Donald Racine said he hoped that not only would Keila and her family have a night to remember, but that school officials “will also remember this night.”
Keila predicted a victory for her team in game four because “every time I put on my jersey we always win.”
Her father said he was proud of his daughter for staying true to herself.
“She was taken aside as if she did something wrong,” Carry Penner said, “and I’m very glad she stuck to her guns.”
With a report by CTV Montreal’s Caroline Van Vlaardingen