Final Bids Are Due In The Sale Of The Ottawa Senators NHL Franchise

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Ottawa Senators right wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates after his second goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammates during first-period NHL hockey game action in Ottawa, Thursday, March 23, 2023.
(Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

The bids have to be in by May 15th.

Just how much is a small market, Canadian National Hockey League team that needs a new building worth? The bidding to buy the Ottawa Senators franchise will end on May 15th and there are a number of groups looking to purchase the NHL franchise. The price tag could be a billion dollars US. There are not too many NHL franchises on the market but small market Ottawa, a franchise that has had a history of being financially fragile, is available and people from the actor Ryan Reynolds to the hip-hop artist Snoop Dog want a chance at owning the team.

The Senators business is up for sale and the league is going through its due diligence in helping the Melnyk family get the correct buyer for the franchise. The Melnyk family is selling the business following the death of the Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in 2022. To complicate matters, the Melnyk family has some sort of understanding that it will be able to build an arena in the LeBreton Flats part of Ottawa. But there is no guarantee that the new Senators ownership group will follow up on the LeBreton Flats plan. The National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman has said the sale of the team is not connected to the LeBreton Flats proposal. The league is committed to keeping the team in Ottawa. The league has told the bidders that public money for a new building is probably not going to be available. The league awarded Ottawa a franchise on December 6th, 1990. Bruce Firestone didn’t have enough money to take on an expansion team and build an arena. The business went bankrupt on January 9th, 2003. Melnyk bought the team on August 26th, 2003. Melnyk wanted a new arena and even threatened to leave Ottawa after failing to get a new building. The saga continues.

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Ottawa Senators center Mark Kastelic (47) celebrates after a goal as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) skates away during third-period NHL hockey game action in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, April 8, 2023. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)
Ottawa Senators center Mark Kastelic (47) celebrates after a goal as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) skates away during third-period NHL hockey game action in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, April 8, 2023. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)