The Ottawa Senators are close to officially changing ownership.
The NHL’s executive committee has approved the $950 million sale of the franchise to Montreal Canadiens co-owner Michael Andlauer from the estate of the late team owner Eugene Melnyk.
The deal, first announced in mid-June, has spent the last two-plus months in internal league review and due diligence on Andlauer and his partners. The agreement now goes before the full NHL Board of Governors, with approval expected to easily pass the needed two-thirds threshold. A timetable for that vote has not yet been finalized but could be days away.
The deal ideally opens up a range of new possibilities for a franchise that has missed the playoffs the last six seasons, regularly posted operating losses, ranked 25th in average attendance last season, and plays in one of the league’s smallest markets.
Most notably, the Senators aim to build a new arena in Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats to supplant the 27-year-old Canadian Tire Centre — located about 16 miles from downtown Ottawa — and transform the team’s revenue-generating power.
Up Next For Andlauer
Andlauer is expected to appoint new executive leadership in both business and hockey operations.
He is already scheduled to be the featured speaker on Sept. 14 at a high-level business conference in Ottawa hosted by mayor Mark Sutcliffe. That session would be canceled if the transaction isn’t finalized by then — but that isn’t expected to be an issue, and Andlauer is already being touted as the new owner of the Senators.