Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk met with city mayor Jim Watson and others today to discuss the development of LeBreton Flats as a new location for an NHL arena, and came out with renewed confidence in the project. Melnyk was clear that the Senators would be able to finance their portion of the project, which includes “residential towers, a Sensplex and abilities center and other amenities” according to Jonathan Willing of the Ottawa Citizen. Speaking to media following the meeting, Melnyk expressed his feelings on their progress:
I can speak from an Ottawa Senators perspective—we are fully capable of funding our portion of what we need to accomplish. I think that as a team effort here that everything required can get done. There are just some hurdles that have to be overcome, but we look at that as challenges as opposed to obstacles. With the mayor’s leadership here I have more confidence today than ever. I’m very confident this is going to go forward.
The Senators have had quite the year, dealing with nearly unending controversy and a lack of success on the ice. If the new arena project does move forward it can only help to secure the financial future of the team as they move closer to the downtown core. Currently looking at a season where their top three players are pending unrestricted free agents, and the team is not expected to compete for a playoff spot, there is a thirst for a rebuild in the Canadian capital.
Willing writes that the timeline to finalize a deal between RendezVouz group that is spearheading the development proposal and the National Capital Commission that currently manages the Flats still sits in 2019. If it does go through, it would represent a big win for the Senators organization and a huge step towards remaining in Ottawa long-term. Melnyk said as much today:
The one thing that is constant always is that we are here to stay in Ottawa for a very, very long time and we want to make sure the LeBreton project, if accomplished, is a success for many, many years for our children’s children and that’s the way we’re looking at it.