OTTAWA – It’s hard to know who will benefit more from Clarke MacArthur’s new position with the Ottawa Senators, him or the team.
General manager Pierre Dorion announced on Friday morning that MacArthur would be returning to the Ottawa organization on a part-time basis in player development. Fellow Senators alumni Jesse Winchester will take on a full-time role working alongside Shean Donovan in player development to replace Chris Kelly, who has decided to step away to spend more time with his family.
“It was nice to get a break and a whole new life in Florida and some good experiences there and different things, but to golf most days wasn’t enough for me,” said MacArthur, who retired after the 2017 season due to post-concussion symptoms. “It’s nice to be back and have a job and things to do.”
MacArthur will work from his home in Florida this season while travelling about 10 days a month and then plans to move north the following season with the hope of expanding his role.
“It’s great to have former Senators on board working with us and helping us be the best organization possible,” Dorion said in a video posted Friday morning.
The 34-year-old MacArthur missed a large portion of two seasons due to concussions before making a surprise comeback late in 2017 and became an integral part of the Senators run to the Eastern Conference final, scoring three goals and picking up nine points through 19 games.
Drafted 74th overall in 2003 by the Buffalo Sabres where he spent parts of three seasons, MacArthur went on to play in Atlanta, Toronto and Ottawa before calling it a career. Through 552 games he had 133 goals and 171 assists.
Initially, MacArthur didn’t even watch hockey, but this past winter he started following a little more closely and this week has brought a renewed sense of excitement for the game.
“I like working with the kids,” said MacArthur, who was on the ice helping out with Ottawa’s annual development camp this past week. “The guys that are on the doorstep and the struggles you have during that time of your career…I’ve been through. I think I can help out in that regard.”
More than anything MacArthur has enjoyed having a schedule to adhere to.
“Dinner at night, got to be here by 8, got meetings about this,” MacArthur said. “You would think you wouldn’t want that, but the retirement thing wasn’t all it’s cracked out to be for me. I’m much more suited to a structure and having to be somewhere. It’s been a positive thing for me.”
For the most part MacArthur is healthy, which as the father of two young children was his primary concern. He still has lingering neck issues, but overall is happy with how things have progressed.
MacArthur has much to offer to the young prospects, but feels his experience with concussion recovery could be invaluable.
“I’ve talked to some players here that have had some concussion stuff,” he said. “That’s where I feel I’ll help out with guys on this team and working with this team. I’ve said numerous times in media articles about what I think about upper cervical stuff and things you can do, but my focus will be with the guys on this hockey team and helping them with that.”