The late Eugene Melnyk won’t be around to see it, but there are signs we could see new life in the proposed LeBreton Flats development featuring a new Ottawa Senators arena.
Melnyk passed away last month, but he left control of the Sens with his daughters and a group of advisors. During the last months of his life he also entered into a partnership with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to host the 2023 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. That’s one major shift. The other is that word got out that the Sens were considering playing five games next season in Quebec City–where there’s plenty of interest in attracting an NHL team, and one that seemingly attracted the attention of city officials who don’t want to lose NHL hockey.
Now, a move into NHL ownership would be a natural for OSEG, which also owns the CFL’s Redblacks and OHL 67’s. It’s also being reported that in new considerations of the LeBreton Flats development by the National Capital Commission, the Senators have proposed building a new arena as part of the larger development–a proposal that surely would boost the larger development.
All of this is at the speculation state, of course. The National Capital Commission certainly won’t make any big decisions on the development today–in fact, the meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes–and there are a number of factors in play here. First, the status of the Senators needs to be defined: Melnyk’s daughters in their early 20s, and there’s plenty of talk the team could be sold. (Enter OSEG.) If the team is to be sold, the new owners would likely be well-known community members with a track record of success, with the background to get a new arena done. (Enter OSEG.) And building a new downtown arena would boost the financial fortunes of the Sens and keep NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman happy of the state of the franchise.
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