The Arena Game Continues In Ottawa

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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)

New Senators’ owner weighing arena options.

Michael Andlauer now owns the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators franchise and he has to make his first major decision that will impact the business for decades. What should he do when it comes to deciding where the team should play? Andlauer is not married to a plan for a new arena at the LeBreton Flats parcel that the former ownership group was pursuing. On June 23rd, 2022, the Senators business received preferred bidder status from the National Capital Commission for the site located 10 minutes west of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, the seat of the Canadian Government. Then Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, just before his passing on March 28th, 2022 signed off on an expression of interest to build a LeBreton Flats events center and a hotel.

During the bidding process for the Senators franchise, the NHL made it clear that the winner did not have to go through with the LeBreton Flats plan. The deal is still on the table according to NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum. “We, of course, agreed. We understand that the new ownership group is going to need some time to figure things out and take a look at the memorandum of understanding.” But Andlauer is not rushing to make a decision until he figures out what makes financial sense. “I think a new arena may cost $900 million. It’s just not one of those things that you kinda go in your pocket and say, ‘Oh, jeez, I got some spare change here, I’ll be able to do it.’ It has to make economic sense. I don’t know what it’s going to take.” Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe has not ruled out spending city funds on a new arena and suggested LeBreton Flats might not be the only site option. The Ottawa Senators’ arena game continues.

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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)