Garrioch explains what a downtown arena would mean for Sens future in Ottawa
A long-awaited downtown arena for the Ottawa Senators took another step towards fruition on Thursday.
The National Capital Commission announced the team was selected as the preferred bidder for the LeBreton Flats project and a memorandum with a group led by the team has been signed for a "major event centre."
The Senators’ bid was chosen ahead of what the NCC said were “multiple” other expressions of interest for the land, which lies just west of Ottawa’s Centretown neighbourhood, close to the downtown core.
TSN contributor Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reported earlier in the week that it was believed that one of the late Eugene Melnyk’s last acts as Senators owner was to sign off on the team’s development proposal for a downtown arena head of the NCC’s Feb. 28 deadline. Melnyk died at the age of 62 on Mar. 28 following a lengthy illness.
In a master concept plan released in 2019, the NCC revealed that a potential downtown arena had been of great public interest. “The most frequently cited examples of a potential major attraction were a new hockey arena or major event centre,” the NCC wrote at the time. “While there is not unanimous support for such a facility, it was the most frequently discussed topic.”The Senators have not played in Ottawa proper since the opening of the Canadian Tire Centre (then called the Palladium) in 1996. The franchise spent the first four years of its existence playing out of the Ottawa Civic Centre, home of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's.