Senators owner Eugene Melnyk pledges to keep team in Ottawa

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

In a letter to season-ticket holders, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he’s committed to keeping the team in Ottawa.

“Backed by Ottawa fans and the entire community, I have demonstrated my commitment to giving you the best possible team over and over again,” Melnyk wrote. “Today, I am just as committed to the Ottawa Senators and to keeping them in the City of Ottawa as I was in 2003.”

Melnyk, who has owned the Senators since 2003, caused some controversy in December when he suggested he’d consider moving the team.

“If it becomes a disaster, yes. If you start not seeing crowds showing up, yes,” Melnyk said when asked about relocation. “But, for now, we are on the cusp of doing OK.”

In January Melnyk announced a partnership with the National Capital Commission to develop a new arena closer to downtown in a region known as the LeBreton Flats.

“Though there are still many hurdles to overcome, today we have moved closer to realizing a vision for LeBreton Flats — creating a place of pride for Ottawa residents, the Ottawa Senators hockey team, and visitors to the national capital region,” Melnyk said in a statement at the time.

Melnyk addressed that development in his letter Thursday, writing “over the coming months, you’ll learn more about our plans to improve the fan experience, to make our games more fun, accessible and affordable and to have an even greater presence in our community.”

This season has been one of disappointment for the Senators after reaching the Eastern Conference Final last year. Through 62 games, the team has a 21-31-10 record with 52 points, which has them in second-to-last place in the conference.

Leading up to the trade deadline, the team parted ways with veterans Dion Phaneuf and Derick Brassard in an attempt to collect future assets.

“I remain committed to investing what is needed to identify, draft and develop the players that embody what it means to be an Ottawa Senator,” Melnyk wrote. “We have a strong foundation of players on this team and in the pipeline ready to contribute.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.