Sens for sale

In the mood for a big splashy purchase that’ll make everyone jealous? Why not bring together your closest billionaire friends and buy a professional hockey team? 

Driving the news: Several months after the passing of Eugene Melnyk, the former owner of the Ottawa Senators, the NHL team is officially up for sale and expected to fetch upwards of US$650 million on the open market. The big question remains: Who’s going to buy it?    

  • The billionaire had saved the team from bankruptcy and a move out of Ottawa, but the relationship had soured over the last few seasons to fans' disappointment.  

Why it matters: A change of ownership can breathe new life into a franchise or send it spiralling, largely depending on how much a new owner is willing to spend to secure great players, hire a competent front office, and ensure top-end facilities for players and fans.  

Some names that have been tossed around as potential suitors include:

  • Ryan Reynolds: Deadpool is very interested, but said he needs “a sugar mommy or daddy” to help cut the cheque and is looking to form a consortium with other parties.
  • Michael Andlauer: The billionaire has been touted as the early favourite due to his experience owning an AHL team and a minority stake in the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Andre Desmarais: The CEO of PowerCorp, Desmarais has been interested in buying the Senators since at least 2016 and, reportedly, that interest hasn’t waned.

Zoom out: The transition in ownership will not only present an opportunity for a team that hasn’t made it to the playoffs since 2017, but for a capital city that could see a new hockey arena built in its sleepy downtown core (and possibly even built without taxpayer money).