At least 15 groups have shown enough interest in buying the Ottawa Senators that they went to the trouble to “file applications,” according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Speaking at his annual All-Star Game press conference Saturday, Bettman said the list of bidders for the club would be whittled down “in the next few weeks or so.”
“I want to be clear that whoever buys this club is doing so to keep it in Ottawa. I say that so that there’s no speculation on the point,” said Bettman. “And there might be a great opportunity to take the team downtown to LeBreton Flats, which I think makes this an even more exciting opportunity, to own a team in the nation’s capital.”
Club owner Eugene Melnyk died in 2022, aged 62, leaving his daughters, Anna, 23, and Olivia, 20, in charge. The sisters have begun the process of putting the club up for sale and have retained Galatioto Sports Partners as financial advisors in the process.
Forbes valued the club to be worth US$525 million last year, though the sale price is expected to be greater than that figure.
Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds — who co-owns Welsh football club Wrexham, which plays in England’s fifth tier — publicly expressed interest in buying the Senators in the fall, though he acknowledged that he would need partners in order to do so.
The team currently plays out of the Canadian Tire Centre, located in the western suburb of Kanata, which is 20 kilometres from downtown.
Just before Melnyk died, a plan to build a facility on a 7.5-acre tract of mostly vacant land closer to downtown called LeBreton Flats was revived.