Sens bidder Neko Sparks met with western Quebec First Nation
Chief Dylan Whiteduck says Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg open to meeting with all groups that bid on team
Members of Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg are meeting with multiple groups bidding to own the Ottawa Senators to discuss a potential partnership, CBC News has learned.
Chief Dylan Whiteduck confirmed he met with the group behind the bid led by Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks and rapper Snoop Dogg on Monday morning.
Representatives from the First Nation are also scheduled to meet with at least one other bidder later this week, Whiteduck said.
He said there is no formal agreement at this point and the First Nation is happy to meet with all groups bidding for the NHL team.
"I think there's a great opportunity for our nation and our community to become strategic partners and we're not closing the door on any groups at this point in time," said Whiteduck.
"Hopefully we'll see where this goes in the next couple weeks."
On Monday, Snoop Dogg wore a Senators jersey while in a video posted to his Instagram account. In the video, he gave a "shout-out to the First Nations of Canada."
"We tryna do something. We tryna make a difference," he said in the video.
Not known if bidder met with other First Nations
The rapper didn't provide the names of any First Nations in the video and it's possible the group met with others beside Kitigan Zibi.
Greg Sarazin, chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan in eastern Ontario, would neither confirm nor deny any discussions with groups bidding on the Senators.
Sarazin said the First Nation was "interested in any economic opportunities that benefit our community."
"We take all opportunities seriously and we do our due diligence when we do that," he told CBC.
A member of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Tribal Council confirmed a letter was sent to Galatioto Sports Partners, the New-York based firm retained by Senators Sports and Entertainment to handle the sale of the team.
The letter expressed interest in partnering with the new owner but the council has not met with any bidding groups.
Questions remain around how First Nations could partner with the group behind the successful bid, including exactly what shared ownership would look like. Whiteduck still said "it's about time" for such an arrangement.
"I think there's been a lot of opportunities where First Nations and Native Americans across North America could have been strategic partners with sports developments," he said, adding this could be a "stepping stone."
The Senators have been for sale since November 2022 and the deadline for binding bids was the end of business day on Monday. A new owner is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.