Melnyk says he won’t sell the Senators ‘at any price’

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In case you didn’t hear him the first time, Eugene Melnyk repeated it yesterday — the Ottawa Senators are not for sale.

“I don’t have any intention of selling the team at any price,” Melnyk said. “I have no intention of moving into anyone else’s place.”

Why does he keep having to say this?

The answer is LeBreton Flats. There are two proposals to develop the Ottawa neighborhood — one backed by the Sens, the other by some very wealthy businessmen from Quebec.

Both proposals include an NHL arena.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

The battle to develop LeBreton Flats is shaping up as a fight between a team with deep roots in Ottawa and an ambitious and creative group bankrolled by wealthy outsiders.

That, at least, was one narrative that emerged Tuesday after the RendezVous LeBreton Group, which includes Senators Sports & Entertainment, and the Devcore Canderel DLS Group, backed by Quebec billionaires André Desmarais and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, unveiled their visions for the long-vacant land just west of Ottawa’s core.

Despite Melnyk’s insistence that 1) the Sens aren’t for sale “at any price” and 2) he has no interest in moving into an arena he doesn’t control, the DCDLS group has not yet been dissuaded.

“Our intention is to have discussions with Mr. Melnyk, whatever those may be, with respect to the Senators moving downtown,” said vice-president Daniel Peritz. “We believe firmly that’s where they should be.”

Click here to watch Peritz suggest that Melnyk is bluffing about his unwillingness to sell the team, which Melnyk quickly denies.

Melnyk, for the record, is no longer involved in horse-racing