5 years ago, we placed a bounty on the owner of the Ottawa Senators, Eugene Melnyk. Not a real bounty, mind you, but a playful one, like in the movie Slap Shot.
Well guess who collected? DEATH.
The grim reaper came and snatched Melnyk from the realm of the living last week, he was 62.
Why so glib? Hey, I waited a week so my piece would get buried in the internet garbage dump.
Worst owner in the NHL? Melnyk - The Ringer
Worst owner in the NHL? Melnyk - The Hockey Feed
Worst owner in the NHL? Melnyk - New York Post
Worst owner in the NHL? Melnyk - Troy Media
Worst owner in the NHL? Melnyk - Pucks and Comics
I have said this over and over and over. Owners are partners with cities to bring you your sports entertainment options. Partners. In 96% of the cases, professional sports teams should not be moved from their markets.
The Original 6 in hockey were the pillars of the National Hockey League during the Second World War. The Rangers, Canadiens, Bruins, Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Maple Leafs are the foundation on which the NHL was built. But before the NHL took over the Stanley Cup in 1926, a half dozen different teams from Ottawa had already won the Cup. Hockey in Ottawa can be traced back to the very origins of the sport itself.
As Melnyk continued to threaten to move the Senators as recently as last year while he lived in Barbados, Ottawa was forced to walk the line between supporting the worst owner in the NHL or not supporting him and then having him pull up stakes on Ottawa's only Professional Sports Franchise.
Luckily the Grim Reaper came and snatched Melnyk.....
Wait, I can still get email updates from his personal website, eugenemelnyk.com?
Is he sending emails from hell?
Even websites like Sportsnet in Canada had to soften Melnyk's Legacy as "complex" and "controversial." Bottom line: Eugene Melynk, despite being a billionaire, had to secure funding to buy both the Senators, and their arena, for $130 Million in 2003. Last year, the team alone was worth just north of $500 Million.
"Melnyk muses about the potential of moving the franchise. 'There’s always a possibility in any franchise. If you open a grocery store and nobody comes to your store, but two blocks down, you put a store in and there’s a long lineup outside, where are you going to have your store.'” - Ottawa Sun
Many fans chose to remember Melnyk's good years, the first decade that he owned the team, but you can't erase the last 5 years of posturing and sabre rattling. In North America, billionaires can do whatever they want, but in Melnyk's case, he really tried hard to jam Canada's capital city in the last years of his life.
Your argument is that spending your own money on the team isn't how it works in pro sports? That doesn't make it less wrong.
You know who had a glowing eulogy for Melnyk? The Nation News.... in Barbados.
Just a reminder, Gary Bettman does not protect the sport of hockey. Gary Bettman protects bad owners and Melnyk's death is just another reminder of that fact. If the Melnyk Estate sells the team to Houston Investors, which is a possibility since the NHL expansion fee has now ballooned to $650 Million, my brain is going to explode. Simple math dictates that it would be cheaper to buy the Senators and move them than pay an expansion fee for a slot that may never open up.
After Melnyk's death this is what I wanted to hear from Gary Bettman:
"The NHL is committed to Ottawa."
This is what Scumbag Gary Bettman actually said (paraphrased):
"We are thinking about playing 5 Ottawa home games in Quebec City next season."
When did Bettman say that? Just two days after Melnyk's death.
"The timing of the (Quebec City) story is suspect to say the least." - Ottawa Sun