The Ottawa Senators have just announced that owner Eugene Melnyk has passed away. He was 62 years of age. The organization writes: “It is with great sadness that the family of Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Senators hockey organization announce his passing on March 28, 2022, after an illness he faced with determination and courage.”
It is with great sadness that the family of Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Senators hockey organization announce his passing on March 28, 2022 after an illness he faced with determination and courage. https://t.co/MrHsTvu7sz pic.twitter.com/DOZrJcD26e
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 29, 2022
Melnyk purchased the Senators, along with the arena the Senators play out of on August 26, 2003. Back then, the team was facing bankruptcy and an uncertain future. He was able to turn things around and the franchise became the NHL’s twenty-sixth highest valued club at $450 million. The team still faces financial challenges to this day and operates as a lower-budget team, but they are not where they used to be.
The team is currently going through a rebuild but enjoyed some success on the ice under Melnyk’s tenure. In 2007, the team made a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement on the passing:
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. The words ‘passion’ and ‘commitment’ define the man who has owned the Ottawa Senators since 2003. Whether it was in the boardroom with his fellow governors, at the rink with his beloved Senators or in the community with his philanthropy, he cared deeply about the game, about his team and about bettering the lives of those in need, particularly underserved children, organ donation and, most recently, with his commitment to his parents’ home country of Ukraine.
“While successful in business, it was our game and his Senators that he was most passionate about. Eugene was often outspoken but he maintained an unwavering commitment to the game and his roots and he loved nothing more than donning a Senators sweater and cheering on his beloved team.
“On behalf of the entire National Hockey League, I extend my deepest sympathies to Eugene’s daughters, Anna and Olivia, his extended family, and all those who benefited from his generosity.”
Teams all around the NHL sent their condolences. Our thoughts are with the Melnyk family tonight.
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