Outdoor NHL game talks experiencing 'hiccups' over seating

The owner of the Ottawa Senators says there have been 'hiccups' finding the right number of seats at Lansdowne Park for a potential outdoor NHL game later this year, but Ottawa's mayor says taxpayers won't be paying to help in that area.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk: 'We need to be comfortable we can fill that stadium'

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said there have been "hiccups" in talks about hosting an outdoor game over the amount of seating there would be at TD Place. (CBC)

The owner of the Ottawa Senators and city's mayor say they're having issues finding the right number of seats for a potential outdoor NHL game at Lansdowne Park later this year.

The idea of having an outdoor NHL game to mark the 100th anniversary of the NHL's first game between Ottawa and Montreal, along with being a signature event for Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations in the capital, has been around for years.

Talks recently focused on the football stadium at TD Place after the federal government said no to the idea it could be played on Parliament Hill.

During a news conference earlier this week to introduce the team's new president and CEO, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk mentioned there had been some issues with the discussions about the game's details.

"There are some hiccups and they have to do with what we hope is the right attendance number. We have an issue, so we're hoping to resolve it," he said Thursday.

"We've gone to the mayor to look at getting some assistance there. We need to be comfortable that we can fill that stadium."

City won't fund seating

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said Saturday that "assistance" doesn't mean the city will pay for any extra seating that would most likely be needed for the game.

"The NHL requires a certain number of seats and we want to make sure we accommodate that at Lansdowne [Park]," he said.

"It's a Rubik's Cube of an agreement because we've got OSEG (who runs the stadium), the City of Ottawa, the Senators and the NHL. I'm optimistic we're going to have some good news in the next several weeks."

OSEG's Jeff Hunt said when Ottawa was awarded the 2017 Grey Cup at TD Place they'd want to add around 10,000 temporary seats for a capacity of around 34,000 people — an event a few weeks before the likely outdoor NHL game date in December.

Watson said the only taxpayer dollars that will be going toward the game is for extra policing and to set up the ticket deal that's in place for other major events at Lansdowne Park, where people with an event ticket get free OC Transpo bus service there and back.

He said he hopes to talk to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman later this week.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he wants an outdoor game decision soon so the city can start marketing it to tourists. (Andrew Foote/CBC)