Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is hopeful that the ongoing negotiations for a new arena in downtown Ottawa will continue to make progress.
Melnyk is leading the pitch for a redevelopment in Lebreton Flats, with his proposal including a new Senators arena as part of a mixed-use development. In November, the Canadian National Capital Commission voted to move forward with negotiations with Melnyk and his group, RendezVous LeBreton.
Discussions for the project have been ongoing. When providing an update on his conversations with the NCC, Melnyk said that he is hopeful that a deal can be struck before the end of this year, and emphasized the importance of obtaining a new arena in downtown Ottawa. More from The Ottawa Citizen:
The Senators owner, speaking on Hockey Central at Noon on Wednesday, chose his words carefully but indicated talks with the NCC are ongoing and he’s optimistic they will be able to get everything in place to begin building the new arena at the location just west of the downtown core.
“We have to be respectful of the process so I’ve got to be careful,” Melnyk said in the interview. “But I’m hoping that this is negotiated throughout this year and completed this year. It’s got to be, and then we move to a very rapid process of getting approvals and building. It’s going to be gorgeous.”
Melnyk said when he bought the team out of bankruptcy in 2003, he couldn’t do anything about the Canadian Tire Centre being in Kanata.
“I think there’s only three teams left in the NHL that don’t have a downtown arena, and we’re one of them and it’s tragic that we don’t,” Melnyk said. “I bought the team out of bankruptcy and that’s where the arena was, and that’s what I bought.
The Senators have played at the Canadian Tire Centre since 1996.