Creditors approve Melnyk's purchase of Sens

Toronto billionaire Eugene Melnyk's bid to buy the Ottawa Senators has been given a thumbs up by a court-appointed monitor.

The monitor, representing the club's creditors, recommended Friday that the sale of the team for $100 million be approved.

The sale is not expected to be fully approved and finalized until the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs in June.

Melnyk fomally put in an offer for the Senators after Rod Bryden's deal to re-acquire the team failed in late February.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Melnyk also reached a tentative separate agreement to buy the Senators' home, the Corel Centre, on Tuesday.

While some details still have yet to be settled, the total price tag for the team and the arena is believed to be between $130 and 150 million US.

The Senators franchise has been in financial trouble since a plan to reduce its massive debt load -- reported to be in excess of $300 million -- fell through at the new year.

The club filed for bankruptcy protection, and at times during the season there was some concern it would be unable to pay its players.

Despite this, the Senators were the best NHL team during the regular season and have been a force in the playoffs. On Saturday, they face the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final. A series victory would net the Senators a berth in the Stanley Cup final.

Melnyk is the founder and major shareholder in the pharmaceutical company Biovail. He also owns the Ontario Hockey League's St. Michael's Majors., based in Toronto.

with files from Canadian Press