NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly paid a visit to Ottawa Monday to meet with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and National Capital Commission board members Tobi Nussbaum and Marc Seaman on a fact-finding mission to see and gather information on prospective sites for a possible new home for the Ottawa Senators.
The NHL commissioner described both meetings as “constructive” and wanting to get “better acquainted” and to keep the “lines of communication” open.
Bettman also met assembled media who did their best to pry any tidbit they could on the ongoing sale process of the team.
Gary Bettman said the entire process from selecting a winning bid to approval will be completed mid-summer. #Sens @FullPressNHL pic.twitter.com/Mf6ZT1A1eG
— Murray Pam (@Pammerhockey) March 27, 2023
On the ongoing discussions of the sale of the Senators’ franchise, Bettman said it’s going to take some time and hope to have new ownership in place by mid-summer.
“The level of interest that’s being expressed is meaningful, both in terms of the number of prospective bidders. We believe that this phase of the process which is being run by investment banker, GSP (Galatioto Sports Partners) should take about another six weeks. And hopefully, once the lawyers get their hands on doing what has to be done with whoever the successful bidder is, then we go through the league’s formal approval process.”
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The preferred bidders are believed to be:
Michael Andlauer – a Toronto-based billionaire, owner of Andlauer Healthcare Group, the Ontario League Hamilton Bulldogs and a 20% share of the Montreal Canadiens.
Jeffrey and Michael Kimel – Toronto-based billionaires, owners of Harlo Capital and Harlo Entertainment, former minority owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Graeme Roustan – owner/publisher of The Hockey News has aligned with an unknown First Nations group.
Neko Sparks – Los Angeles-based owner of Pixel Lime technology and movie producer. Sparks has put together a consortium, comprised mainly of people of colour. One rumoured partner is The Rock, Dwayne Johnson.
Remington Group – a Markham-based housing and commercial development company. Actor Ryan Reynolds has aligned himself with this group.
Rocco Tullio – Windsor-based property developer, owner of OHL Oshawa Generals.
Bettman added it’s ultimately a combination of the Senators’ board, beneficiaries (Anna and Olivia Melnyk), the executor and GSP who’ll select the preferred bid from one of the presumed six groups seeking to purchase the team. The league itself requires three-quarters NHL board of governor’s approval.
Bettman once again reiterated the team will remain in Ottawa.
“Make things crystal clear, the team is not going to move. The only move that will be permitted is downtown. Where to go or whether to stay here (Kanata) and what would happen and how this building will be repurposed is up to the new owners of the franchise.”
While the preferred destination for a new building is close to the downtown core, one major concern is that the NCC has offered a parcel of land that is less than seven acres. Bettman’s concern is the space allotted is too small, citing the need for loading docks, tv hookups, parking, and all things that make a building accessible.
However, there are rumblings, the NCC is willing to budge to provide more land if necessary.
Yes, hockey fans mockingly jeer Gary Bettman from time to time, but make no mistake, the NHL commissioner is responsible for keeping the Senators in Ottawa and will insure Senators’ fans, the ownership group selected in mere months will be a strong one.
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