Senators ‘actively considering’ new downtown arena

The Ottawa Senators currently call The Canadian Tire Centre home. (Senators)

The Ottawa Senators’ current home, Canadian Tire Centre, sits roughly 22 kilometres from downtown Ottawa. It’s best to pack a lunch when travelling from the downtown core to the Senators’ abode all the way out in Kanata, Ont.

Canadian Tire Centre won’t see its 20th birthday until January of 2016 but the hockey club’s ownership group, Senators Sports & Entertainment, is “actively considering the opportunity” to make a move downtown and build a new arena, The Ottawa Citizen reports.

The National Capital Commission is seeking proposals to redevelop 21.4 hectares of land at LeBreton Flats, near the Canadian War Museum. A new home for the Senators would fit the bill as “an attraction of a regional, national or international significance.”

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Canadian Tire Centre’s location is by no means conducive to support from the downtown working set. The Senators could finally shake their reputation as an inconvenient destination if ownership elects to submit a formal proposal.

Of course, any plans for a new arena will require support not just from private investors but community support as well. Tax dollars at work, so to speak.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, who oversees the NCC, voiced his opinion on the Senators’ current home: “I’ve travelled quite a bit and I’ve never seen a major sports arena in the middle of nowhere.”

Baird would make a strong ally for the Senators Sports & Entertainment group’s bid, but he noted that any plans for the LeBreton Flats development will have to go through the appropriate process.

A new arena for the Senators does not immediately meet some of the criteria for the public land at LeBreton Flats, primarily the preference for a public institution to stand as the main attraction on the land. Ownership would face some obstacles in the quest for the winning bid.

The NCC extended its deadline for applications from Dec. 5 to Jan. 7.

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