For Sale: NHL Franchise In Ottawa Best Offer Accepted?

The team has to stay in Ottawa.

For those who would like to see the National Hockey League establish a franchise in Houston or Québec City, they are going to have to wait. The possibility of the Ottawa Senators franchise being sold to investors in those two cities is possible but the investors more than likely will not be able to move the team out of the Ottawa area in the short term. The Melnyk sisters, who are both under the age of 25, have decided to sell the team and there is a condition. The franchise cannot leave the Ottawa area. The Melnyk sisters inherited the business after their father Eugene passed away earlier this year. In addition to the hockey business, whoever becomes the new owner of the business might be able to build an arena in the LeBreton Flats area of the city as the franchise was able to convince Ottawa planners that it could deliver an arena village in the city. It is also very hard to imagine that the National Hockey League would want to leave Canada’s capital particularly after the league worked to find a buyer for the team after the franchise declared bankruptcy in 2003.

Ottawa has been a problem franchise for the league since it awarded Bruce Firestone and his partners a team in 1990. Firestone had major difficulties coming up with the $50 million expansion fee. The team did get on the ice in 1992. Firestone sold the team to Rod Bryden in 1993 after Anaheim interests offered him $20 million to move to Southern California. The Senators’ business filed for bankruptcy on January 8th, 2003. Eugene Melnyk purchased the business on August 26th, 2003.  Melnyk began looking for a new arena about five years ago. In March, Québec City politicians offered to host five Senators games in 2022-23. That idea was tabled.

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