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Fifth-grader sent home for wearing Ottawa jersey gets VIP treatment at Sens game

Eleven-year-old Keila Penner faced zero fashion discrimination in the Senators' owner's private suite during Tuesday's game.
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Chiara O. Scuri, May 9, 2013 3:56:41 PM

What’s that saying about laughing last?

Ah, yes. Laughing VIP-style at an NHL Playoffs game.

In the most inspired fashion moment of her young life, Keila Penner made national headlines for choosing temporary suspension over team disloyalty.

You see, the Grade 5 student at Montreal’s Maple Grove Elementary School had showed up before first period wearing an Ottawa Senators jersey.

On any given day, sporting an Ottawa shirt at a Montreal school takes courage. But factor in the pre-Game 1 atmosphere and the 11-year-old’s bravery takes on new depths.

Particularly when you consider that students at the uniform-only school had been given the option of swapping their regular duds for a hockey jersey – provided it was Habs-approved.

So while many of her peers came to class in the familiar strains of red, white and blue, Penner was told, by actual adults employed to work with children, that she could lose the Senators shirt or hit the road.

“I didn’t think it was fair,” Penner told CTV Montreal on Tuesday. “I’m allowed to have my own opinion.”

Showing more integrity than many quadruple her age, the Sens fan gathered up her jersey and went home.

Her school’s actions did not sit well with many fellow Canadians after the story made headlines.

They did end up sitting well with Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk, however, who used the opportunity to provide a limo to the loyal fan and her family so they could attend Game 4 of the quarterfinals in Ottawa.

The Penners shouted for their team in Melnyk’s personal suite and the cherry on top of this puck-flavoured sundae: Ottawa beat the Habs 3-2 in overtime.

No matter who takes the series this round, it’s a spunky elementary school student who has come out the winner.

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Chiara O. Scuri

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