With the future of the LeBreton Flats redevelopment still up in the air, Ottawa Senators’ fans continue to become more frustrated with the franchise’s administration, namely Owner Eugene Melnyk.
“This lawsuit [between Capital Sports Management Inc. and Trinity Development Group] doesn’t really affect me much as a fan, but it does confirm what we already know,” says Mitch Brule, a long time Ottawa Senators fan. “Melnyk clearly doesn’t have the money to bring the team downtown on his own or run the team. It’s frustrating knowing we have an owner who is incapable of getting this done for us.”
In speaking with Sens’ fans outside of the Canadian Tire Centre on January 16, as they prepared to watch their team take on the Colorado Avalanche, it’s clear that interest to move the team’s arena downtown remains very high.
Many say they are ready for another change as well — that being for Melnyk to step aside as the team’s owner — and some are hoping that the $1-billion counter-suit filed against him, brings that change.
Fan Aaron Nilsen believes Trinity Group Founder John Ruddy is trying to put Melnyk out of business and gain control of the Sens through the suit, something he would welcome. However, there has never been evidence of Ruddy wanting to take control of the hockey club.
Average attendance for Sens games at the CTC has been anywhere between 15,000-16,000 over the last two seasons.
The frustration between fans and the Senators’ owner became public early last year, when an Ottawa resident started the “Melynk Out” movement. Spencer Callaghan launched the campaign after raising over $10,000 on GoFundMe; a campaign that came with a giant billboard to let Melnyk know that the fans have had enough.
It’s not just Ottawa Senator fans expressing their displeasure either.
“Melnyk is single handedly running that franchise into the ground. If he doesn't settle this suit and figure something out the long term success of the Sens is pretty sad,” said Montreal Canadiens’ supporter, Jeremy Bider.
A mediator between Capital Sports Management and Trinity Group recently asked for more time to be able to reach a settlement for the RendezVous LeBreton partners. Earlier this month, the National Capital Commission's board of directors approved an extension to February 28, 2019.
Note: This story has been updated to correct the deadline for mediation.