NHL

Senators offer use of arena, other facilities to Ontario government amid pandemic

The Ottawa Senators have offered use of the Canadian Tire Centre, the building's nine adjacent parking lots, and three other community arenas affiliated with the team to the Ontario government for temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Team has reported 6 cases of COVID-19 within organization

The Ottawa Senators have offered to provide aid to the Ontario government through temporary use of the Canadian Tire Centre and affiliated properties during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The Ottawa Senators have offered the Canadian Tire Centre, the building's nine adjacent parking lots, and three other community arenas affiliated with the team to the Ontario government for temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A club spokesperson said Friday that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk approached the province earlier this week and is awaiting a reply.

The offer comes with the potential use of 17 unleased private suites inside Ottawa's NHL rink — including Melnyk's — and amounts to roughly 200,000 square feet of adaptable space.

The board of directors for the city's three Bell Sensplex arenas, which are run via public/private partnership, voted unanimously to endorse the offer. The team spokesperson added the municipal government has been apprised of the situation.

The spokesperson added the Senators would ensure the Canadian Tire Centre, which is located in the west-end suburb of Kanata, is staffed with essential workers.

Like most other sports, the NHL paused its season March 12 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Six members of the organization, including five players, tested positive for COVID-19, as did the team's radio colour commentator.

The Senators were on a road trip in California right before the NHL suspended play. Two players on the Colorado Avalanche, who were also on the West Coast before the hiatus went into effect, are the only other NHLers with confirmed positive tests.

Melnyk announced earlier this week the organization would be implementing temporary layoffs and salary reductions due to the pandemic.

The Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins previously announced temporary layoffs and salary reductions.

Melnyk pledged last month to pay part-time and hourly arena staff at the Canadian Tire Centre and the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Belleville, Ont., through to the end of their respective seasons.

With files from CBC Sports

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.