The Ottawa Senators dramatic offseason continues, as Randy Lee has now resigned his post as Assistant General Manager and General Manager of the Belleville Senators. Lee was involved in a legal matter earlier this summer during a trip to Buffalo for the NHL Scouting Combine, though Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reports that his hearing has now been postponed to September 13th.
Lee, a member of the Senators organization for nearly two decades, was suspended indefinitely by the team on June 15th following his arrest in Buffalo for harassment in late May. The team will begin an immediate search for his replacement, though they have already been operating without his input for more than a month. At the time of the suspension, the team had this to say about the matter:
As our hockey club’s initial statement made clear, our Hockey Team – and our organization as a whole – will always hold our leaders, coaching staff, players and employees to the highest standards of behaviour.
Harassment in any form is unacceptable, whether it occurs inside or outside the work place. As a result, and with all the care and caution required in such cases, we have spent the past two weeks listening carefully to, and consulting with our community, our fan base and our partners to understand their expectations on the matter.
Lee issued his own statement on his resignation, indicating that he believes the club needed to find a replacement for him while his legal proceedings are ongoing:
My suspension has given me more time to spend with my loved ones than ever before. For the past 23 years, my family has taken a back seat to my career. My focus is now on putting them first. At the same time, I have to think about my obligations to the hockey team. They need an Assistant General Manager who can focus completely on the coming season. Until this matter is behind me, however, I’m not in a position to do that. For this reason–in consultation with the Ottawa Senators and my family–I have chose to resign as Assistant General Manager of the Ottawa Senators and General Manager of the Belleville Senators.
It’s been a long offseason for Ottawa, with Lee’s arrest not the only public controversy the team has gone through. From locker room issues including a feud between Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson that led to a trade of the former, to the three key players who are now scheduled for unrestricted free agency in 2019 without any extensions in sight, there has been little to get excited about for Senators fans. It’s not often that a team goes from a goal away from the Stanley Cup Finals to a 30th-place finish in one season, but the Senators did that in 2017-18. Many are expecting them to struggle again in 2018-19, but at least one distraction can potentially be put behind them now that Lee is no longer connected to the organization.