What Is Next For The Ottawa Senators?

Eventually, the arena question will be reintroduced.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s passing leaves some questions about the future of the team in Canada’s capital. Melnyk once threatened to leave town, actually Kanata, if he didn’t get a new building but Melnyk did not seem to be in a hurry to leave suburban Kanata which is about 14 miles southwest of Ottawa and was open to putting up an arena near the present building on the 70 acres of property that he owned and then surround the new facility with a mixture of business and residential properties. Melnyk was even thinking of taking his sticks and pucks and head to Québec on a parcel of land just east of Ottawa in Gatineau which offers a view of the Canadian Parliament. Gatineau is closer to downtown Ottawa than Kanata.

In early 2018, Melnyk was going to partner with developer John Ruddy to develop the LeBreton Flats site which would have included an arena-village. By November, 2018 Melnyk was suing Ruddy for $700 million Canadian claiming that Ruddy had a conflict of interest because he was involved in another Ottawa development near the LeBreton Flats area. Ruddy decided to sue Melnyk for a billion dollars, Canadian, accusing Melnyk and the Senators business of skipping out on financial responsibilities and wanting not to pay rent in the planned building. In February 2019, the project was declared dead. Melnyk once said on the Bob McCown podcast that he was “75, 85 percent staying in Kanata” and was hoping that a light rail project that was being planned would extend to Kanata but he needed to keep his options open. It is unlikely that the National Hockey League wants to abandon the Ottawa market. But at some point, someone running the Ottawa franchise will mention Ottawa needs a new building.

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191  

Ottawa Senators right wing Marian Gaborik, of Slovakia, celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with defenseman Erik Karlsson, of Sweden, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)