When discussing the possibility of a new Ottawa Senators arena, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman described a new venue as essential to the team’s future.
The Senators and owner Eugene Melnyk are pitching a new arena as a centerpiece for a larger redevelopment plan in Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats district. Discussions over the proposed project continue to unfold, with the Senators-backed group behind the plan working on negotiations with the National Capital Commission.
Bettman discussed the situation recently. While he said that Melnyk could more appropriately address the status of ongoing negotiations, the commissioner added that the new arena is an important factor in the Senators’ long-term ability to compete. More from The Ottawa Sun:
“A new downtown arena is vitally important to the long-term future, stability and competitiveness of the Senators,” Bettman said. “The process is ongoing, but I think asking Mr. Melnyk or the Senators the status would be more appropriate than asking us.
“However, we believe there needs to be a solution for the long term.”
Negotiations over LeBreton Flats redevelopment have been done in virtual silence because the National Capital Commission and the Senators want to get this across the finish line as quickly as possible, clearing the way for construction and eventually allowing the NHL team to move downtown.
Since 1996, the Senators have played at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata. The club’s attendance has been a source of concern in recent years, and its per-game average of 15,010 fans for the 2017-18 season currently ranks 25th in the 31-team NHL.
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