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Welcome To Our Glorious Outdoor Game Setting, But We May Be Moving The Ottawa Senators

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

With hundreds of fans braving -20 C wind chills to kick off what should have been a marquee weekend for the NHL in the nation’s capital, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said Friday night he would consider moving the franchise.

“If it doesn’t look good here, it could look good somewhere else,” Melnyk said. “But I’m not suggesting that right now. That’s always the possibility with any franchise.

“If you open a grocery store and nobody comes, but one opens two blocks down and there’s a line outside, where are you going to have your store?”

The scene on Parliament Hill, with snow falling, was a perfect one for politicking – with the outspoken Melnyk perking up eyebrows of hungry hockey fans in Quebec City and bigwigs in Ottawa as the Senators search for a new downtown arena.

But Melnyk swore he wasn’t posturing.

“I don’t bluff,” Melnyk said. “I won’t sell it. It just won’t happen. Imagine if you own a McDonalds franchise, but you can move it. Why would you sell it? It’s something that’s very difficult to buy. We’re doing OK here. We’re not doing great.”

Melnyk said “the market here has to prove itself” or changes will be made.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink


HaHasek's avatar

I appreciate Melnyk’s candid interview, it’s nice to hear an owner speak and actually say what’s on his mind. (despite the tired old rhetoric of “I’m not doing what I just did”)

I don’t think comparisons to simpler franchises (McDondald’s, Grocery Store) hold much weight though. Owning a sports franchise is just too different of a business for the analogy to go very far. For one thing, any franchise also has to promote itself right vs its competition, rather than putting all the onus on the market to prove itself. People have so many entertainment options these days - how does going to an NHL hockey game set itself apart?

Posted by HaHasek on 12/16/17 at 11:39 AM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

Maybe he should be looking at the realities of the market in Ottawa right now.  The Phoenix pay debacle is hurting thousands of people here.  People aren’t going to spend $200 (or more) on a hockey game when they’re not getting paid properly (if at all).  It’s just a reality.  Thousands of government workers here are affected.

A couple examples, my wife went back to work after mat leave.  It took them almost two months to pay her.  And a year and a half to pay her the back pay owed.  My old manager is still getting paid a year after retiring.  She can’t even get a hold of anyone to talk to about her problem.  And, yes getting overpaid for a year is an issue.  Kinda launches you into a much higher tax bracket, not to mention the fact that they are demanding the gross pay back, not the net pay they’ve given you.  Their argument is that you’ll get the money back at tax time.

So, for him to bitch about fans not going is basically telling his fans to suck it up and come to the Sens games whether or not they’re getting paid properly.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 12/16/17 at 12:36 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

Melnyk just needs to shut his burger hole. The Sens have had a rough season and a brutal last couple of weeks. Karlsson has intimated that he already has one foot out the door (tho he’s walked that back recently), they traded a heart-and-soul guy in Turris, Duchesne hasn’t found his stride, and the building is half empty, and couldn’t sell out playoff games. But finally the Sens win a big game against the Rangers, and an outdoor game is a great way to forget all the distractions and live in the moment, taking in the great setting, playing the storied Habs, and celebrating the Centennial of your league. An event like this could even be a turning point for the team’s season.

But Melnyk has to chime in—on the eve of the game—that, no, we might be moving the whole franchise, so deal with it. Maybe the building is half empty because the owner is such a POS that people don’t want to support his bargain basement budget team. I live far away from the Ottawa market, and I can’t stand the guy. I can’t imagine having to listen to his whining all the time.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 12/16/17 at 01:53 PM ET


Has Melnyk finished his forensic investigation of Matt Cooke yet?  I think maybe I missed the results….

Sorry, when I hear his name, that’s all I can think of: that he’s a nut.  I laugh every time I hear his name. 

However bad your team’s owner is, at least he isn’t this guy.

Posted by Lex Talionis on 12/18/17 at 10:12 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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