Ottawa Senators won't play at new arena built by competing bidder, says Eugene Melnyk
'This team is mine for life,' says owner after report of competing arena bid at LeBreton Flats
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said Friday there's "not a chance" his team would play at a new arena at LeBreton Flats if it is built by a competing bidder.
"The long and short of it is, the team is not for sale. Never will be in my lifetime, for sure. Number two: you can't come into my territory. What's a matter with you? Like, who is going to play there?" said Melnyk as he hosted a skate for school children at the Canadian Tire Centre, where his team currently plays.
The National Capital Commission announced Tuesday that the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats is down to two final proposals — one by DCDLS Group (formerly Devcore Group) and the other by Rendez Vous LeBreton Group, which represents the Ottawa Senators.
Rendez Vous LeBreton Group was the only bidder proposing a major sports and entertainment centre as an anchor for the 9.3-hectare site when it was shortlisted, along with three other groups, to submit more detailed proposals in February.
Only the two finalists followed through with more comprehensive proposals.
The NCC has not released details about the more detailed proposals, but Melnyk responded harshly Friday to rumours that DCDLS Group had proposed an arena in its latest bid — a departure from its previous proposal for "a concept with multiple cultural institutions developed around an grand allée, green spaces, and residential and commercial developments," according to that bid.
DCDLS Group told CBC News Friday that rules imposed by the NCC prevents it from revealing details about its bid.
Daughter has 'first dibs' on Sens
Melnyk said it was "misleading" that another bidder would include an arena in its plan without owning an NHL team.
"How in God's name do they want to build an arena? I don't get it because there's no NHL team available. This team is mine for life. My daughter has already taken first dibs on it when I go to heaven," he said.
Melnyk said that it's important to "control the building" so that he doesn't have to ask for permission to host events, in addition to the fact that owning an arena is a source of revenue.
This team is mine for life. My daughter has already taken first dibs on it when I go to heaven.- Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk
He said that the Ottawa Senators would continue to play at the suburban Canadian Tire Centre if Rendez Vous LeBreton Group did not win the bid to redevelop LeBreton Flats.
The NCC said Tuesday that it will review the two finalists to make sure they meet the requirements of the request for proposals before releasing more details. The public will be asked to provide feedback during public consultations scheduled for January 26 and 27 at the Canadian War Museum.