Michael Andlauer is officially the new owner of the Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators officially have a new owner.

The sale to a group led by Toronto-based businessman Michael Andlauer has the NHL’s stamp of approval, according to a news release from the league.

The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale, and the transaction closed Thursday.

The board of directors of Senators Sports & Entertainment began work to sell the team last November after the death of owner Eugene Melnyk in March 2022.

The group led by Andlauer was announced as the successful bid back in June after a months-long process and multiple offers from groups including Ryan Reynolds and Snoop Dogg.

Melnyk, who purchased the team and Canadian Tire Centre in 2003 for $130 million US, left the franchise to his daughters Anna and Olivia. The sisters would keep 10 per cent of the team.

Andlauer’s group, which sources said at the time of the deal also include the Malhotra family of Ottawa-based developer Claridge Homes and Jeff York of the Farm Boy grocery chain, gets 90 per cent.

The 57-year-old Andlauer has been a minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens since 2009 and owns the Brantford Bulldogs junior hockey team, which he bought and moved from Belleville to Hamilton in 2015.

Before that, he had an ownership stake in an American Hockey League team in Hamilton dating back to 2003.

He has founded and led transportation and health-care companies, along with the Bulldog Capital Partners merchant bank.

Team making moves

The Senators have been busy this off-season, trading 25-year-old winger Alex DeBrincat to Detroit after a single season with the team, for Dominik Kubalik, prospect defenceman Donovan Sebrango and two draft picks.

After missing the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year since making the Eastern Conference final in 2017, the team has locked up a young core, including signing 21-year-old defenseman Jake Sanderson to an eight-year deal worth just over $8 million per year.

The team also signed veteran scorer Vladimir Tarasenko after losing DeBrincat.

Ottawa’s pre-season starts Sept. 24 and its regular season on Oct. 11 in Carolina. The home opener is Oct. 14.

Landscapers around the Ottawa Senators Roman general-style logo on an arena with a large white S-E-N-S sign on the ground for photo ops.
A large Ottawa Senators logo on the side of the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on June 13, 2023, the day the team announced an agreement in principle with a new owner. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Now about that arena …

The team has been working on a replacement for the 27-year-old Canadian Tire Centre in the west Ottawa suburb of Kanata.

It reached a deal about a year ago to take another crack at a new arena on LeBreton Flats at the edge of downtown — though NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe have mused about a different central location.

Moshe Lander, a professor in the department of economics at Concordia University in Montreal said at the time the sale was announced that the arena should be ownership’s top priority.

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