Ottawa Senators win with NCC with sand for LeBreton Flats

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The path to a downtown arena has been cleared for Ottawa Senators.

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Staff on the National Capital Commission board of directors told him Thursday morning that senators have won preferred bidder status for a major events venue on LeBreton Flats and have already signed an agreement in principle.

The association includes Sterling Project Development, Popolous, Tipping Point Sports and Live Nation.

As this newspaper was the first to report, it is believed that one of Eugene Melnyk’s final acts before he passed away on March 28 was to sign a bid by the February 28 deadline to submit an expression of interest for a new lead in Le Breton Flats.

It didn’t work out the last time he teamed up with Trinity’s John Ruddy in 2015, but in this offering the Senators have strong supporters for the arena.

Naturally, this is only the first step in what will be a long process to obtain a lease with the NCC before January 23. In addition, the organization will also have to deal with political and financial obstacles that must be overcome. clear

While the NCC stated in April that it had “multiple” expressions of interest for a major events hub on the ground located on the edge of downtown Ottawa, an offer from the Senators is the only one that made sense, with the team from the NHL the main tenant.

We think Melnyk and his new set of backers dipped their toes in the water to see what the NCC’s thought process was on the matter. If they hadn’t, the door would slam shut. Melnyk told Postmedia in December that he “was always interested” in a LeBreton opportunity.

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During public consultations conducted by the NCC in 2019, it became clear that people wanted a city center stadium on LeBreton Flats.

This decision not only raises the value of the franchise if Melnyk’s daughters, Anna and Olivia, the team’s new owners, decide to sell, but also helps secure the franchise’s future in this city.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson congratulated senators for “following” the process and “not giving up on this proposal.”

Watson said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly stressed to him that senators should be in the center because “there are no crowds in Kanata.”

“It’s a great day for the city of Ottawa and the people of Ottawa,” Watson said. “I think we have a winner here.”

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Twitter: @sungarrioch

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