Ottawa

Bad-mouthed, berated, banned: Fan frustration with Eugene Melnyk boils over

He traded away their favourite players and failed to bring an arena to LeBreton Flats. Senators fans, the mayor and even an Ottawa restaurant have had it with Eugene Melnyk, and they're letting him know it.

Failure of LeBreton Flats deal the last straw for many Senators faithful

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has been taking it on the chin for a while now. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

He traded away their favourite players and failed to bring an arena to LeBreton Flats. Now Senators fans, the mayor and even an Ottawa restaurant have had it with Eugene Melnyk, and they're letting him know it.

Melnyk was once seen as a saviour when he swooped in and bought the bankrupt hockey team in 2003, but in recent years his popularity — like the team's ticket sales — has ebbed to an all-time low.

Even before the LeBreton deal died Wednesday, Ottawa's Mongolian Village East announced on Facebook it was banning Melnyk from the restaurant.

Co-owner Andrew Saikaley placed the blame for top scorer Mark Stone's trade to Las Vegas squarely on Melnyk. 

"For a player like that to not want to stay on the team when he was going to be a major component to our rebuild … kind of says a lot about the management and the players, as well as the disconnect between the team and the fan base," Saikaley said.

"I wouldn't say Ottawans are impatient. We give chances to people and we support whenever we can, but it seems like a slow downhill progression of what's going on with the team."

To many fans, things hit rock bottom Wednesday with news that mediation had failed to save the LeBreton deal.

Melynk's pledge to keep looking for a new downtown location didn't help.

A few fans tried to put a positive spin on things.

Maybe Melnyk's not to blame, one fan ventured.

Another suggested Melnyk and Sens GM Pierre Dorion borrow a popular Jimmy Kimmel gag.

There's certainly no shortage of material.

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