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Ottawa Senators not for sale, but OSEG’s Roger Greenberg expresses interest

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There’s no “For Sale” sign at the Canadian Tire Centre, but that hasn’t stopped the chatter about the Ottawa Senators’ future.

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Just three weeks after the death of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, Ottawa business executive Roger Greenberg, shareholder of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, indicated in an interview with CTV Ottawa on Tuesday that he would be interested in joining the team. a new owner grouper.

There are no indications that Melnyk’s daughters, Anna and Olivia, are considering selling the team. While Greenberg acknowledged the Senators aren’t for sale, that hasn’t stopped him from indicating he’d like to be involved if that happens.

Speaking to host Graham Richardson, Greenberg, executive chairman of the Minto Group and a partner in OSEG, told the station he would “likely participate” if the Melnyk family decided to put the team on the market.

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“It’s amazing how many people are talking to me and asking if we’ll do it, I guess it’s a logical extension of having a successful band with OSEG that I’m involved with,” Greenberg said.

“First things have to come first. And it’s a family decision to sell the team. Because until that happens, nothing can really happen.

“So let’s make that decision first and then we’ll see where things go from there.”

Although NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last month that business would be business as usual for the Senators following Melnyk’s passing on March 28 following a long illness, that hasn’t happened. stopped speculation about the future.

Ottawa Senators not for sale, but OSEG’s Roger Greenberg expresses interest
Roger Greenberg Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Greenberg added that his family was one of 27 backers when former owner Bruce Firestone brought the franchise back here in 1992.

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Greenberg said he tried to help former Ottawa owner Rod Bryden bail the Senators out of bankruptcy in 2003, but that offer fell through. Melnyk bought the team and the rink to keep the franchise in Ottawa.

Richardson told Greenberg “surely you’re not closing the door on that possibility for your band” being part of an ownership group?

“One hundred percent. We were among the first Ottawa Senators when they arrived in this city,” said Greenberg. “We were a small ownership group then, I was involved with Rod Bryden when he wanted to buy the team out of bankruptcy (in 2003) and ultimately that offer fell through.

“And we’re heavily involved in sport at Lansdowne, so we understand the importance of sport in the social fabric, the importance to children’s mental health of having goals to aspire to, so yes, we would probably participate if something that is doable when the time comes. »

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The reality is you’re going to hear a lot about it in the coming months and the Senators don’t need to comment on it publicly as there hasn’t been any internal discussion about selling the team since Melnyk’s passing. .

The NHL has been focused on trying to make sure Anna and Olivia have everything they need to help the franchise continue with day-to-day business with the season ending April 29 in Philadelphia.

While all senior executives reported to Melnyk, he had established a board of directors several years ago that helped put in place checks and balances when it came to making decisions about the franchise.

Cassels Business Law Group partner Sheldon Plener, long-time partner Lawrence Zeifman and club administrative director John Miszuk will help lead the franchise over the coming months.

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Plener and Ziefman have been with Melnyk for several years while Miszuk was also a longtime friend.

Erin Crowe, the club’s chief financial officer, Anthony LeBlanc, president of business operations, and general manager Pierre Dorion lead franchise operations and report to the board of directors.

Melnyk told Postmedia in a 2017 chat while we were in Stockholm that he started the organization to stay in his family for “generations.” League officials have also confirmed that was his plan and there is still the option for the family to take on a partner.

The board have been in regular contact with the entire management of the club since Melnyk’s passing and by all accounts the organization is working well.

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It will be up to Anna and Olivia to figure out the franchise’s next course of action, but it’s not a decision they should make immediately. There is a lot of work to be done before the estate is settled. Olivia is in her second year at Queen’s University and Anna graduated from UCLA in June 2021.

The organization could soon know the path that the National Capital Commission will take with the LeBreton Flats project.

The board was told earlier this month there were ‘several offers’ and it is believed one of Melnyk’s last acts before his death was to sign a proposal for a downtown ice rink by the February 28 deadline.

None of LeBreton’s bidders can publicly confirm their interest because they face expulsion. The NCC hopes to have reached an agreement with the selected party to move forward with the offer by early June.

Twitter: @sungarrioch

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