Ottawa Senators owner threatens to threaten to move team, but not “right now”

And speaking of oblique move threats, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dropped some more on Friday:

“If it doesn’t look good here, it could look very, very nice somewhere else, but I’m not suggesting that right now. All I’m saying is that I would never sell the team.”

This isn’t anything new, as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman just said essentially the same thing last month, though it is new for Melnyk to say it quite so bluntly. Melnyk is still angling for final development rights (and a discounted price) for land for a new arena in Ottawa, and hinting at moving the team is always a good way to turn up the heat on that, except of course that the easiest alternative option would be Quebec, and he’d have to sell the team to have it go there since Quebecor wants to own any team that plays in its new arena, so that’s out if “would never sell the team” is a hard and fast rule. And Seattle is reportedly only being considered for an expansion franchise, so … Houston? Are we supposed to think that it looks “very, very nice” in Houston for the Ottawa Senators? It’d really help if team owners would be more specific about their threats, though I suppose being specific is exactly the opposite of the effect they’re shooting for.

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8 comments on “Ottawa Senators owner threatens to threaten to move team, but not “right now”

  1. Melnyk is part of a private sector consortium involved in a massive, high profile development on prime federal government land near downtown Ottawa. I am guessing that negotiations with the federal government are not going the way he likes and/or he is not getting the financial subsidies to build a new arena he would want so now he is posturing that he will pick up his puck and leave the city if the deal is not to his liking. Then, of course, he can blame the federal government.

  2. Melnyk said last week, amongst many other things, that he”didn’t need a partner “to build a new arena at LeBreton Flats. I am sure he regretted that quote as soon as he saw it in print. And I assume Mr. Bettman was no less pleased other.

  3. “in 2016, the franchise was valued by Forbes magazine at US$355 million.” per wikipedia (the ever knowing, factual source)

    Has someone told Bonderman and Leiweke about this opportunity to get a franchise for less than $600 million?

  4. Our long, national nightmare is (temporarily) over, because the Arizona Coyotes just renewed their lease agreement for one more year.

  5. You have to question the business acumen of an owner that can’t sell hockey in Canada. But I liked his little story:
    “If you open a grocery store and nobody comes, but one opens two blocks down and there’s a line outside, where are you going to have your store?”
    If your competitor has people lined up, but your business is empty, maybe the problem is the owner and not the location.

    1. the problem in this case is definitely the owner.

      18 years ago, he saved the team, but now his penny pinching(due to his divorce) is running it into the ground. his desire for the spotlight doesnt help either(see: Matt Cooke investigation).

      1. Very true Andy.

        Melnyk has always loved the spotlight (and complaining about how tough he has it). He doesn’t seem to have realized that no-one ever feels sorry for billionaires.

        The reason he owns a franchise in a small market with a ‘remote’ (albeit far less removed from it’s target population than it once was) arena is because that is what he bought (and at a tremendous discount – opinions vary, but he paid somewhere between 60-70% of the actual market value for the arena/team at the time).

        This makes him a victim how?

        I know several Sens fans who had historically bought playoff tickets… but last year Melnyk jacked prices through the roof… so these fans watched on TV instead.

        The biggest single marketing obstacle the Senators have is Melnyk, as noted above.

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