Ottawa Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk Speaks Out About Lockout

By Emma Harger
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk misses seeing sights like these outside Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place. Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk may not be allowed to attend bargaining meetings, nor is he really allowed to speak out on the record about issues relating to the NHL lockout, but it seems that he’s surpassed his breaking point because he’s speaking out anyway.

“Everybody can finger point all they want but at the end of the day I don’t think anybody cares who’s at fault, all they know is we’re not playing hockey,” he told Canada’s Prime Time Sports. “[I’m] extremely disappointed like any fan of where we are, we should be playing hockey by now.”

He used some personal experiences, too, explaining that he used to be a huge baseball fan until the 1994 strike literally killed his fandom.

“Back in ’94, I was a rabid baseball fan, I’m talking like a 40-45 game guy when I still lived in Toronto, I saw the World Series and [the Toronto Blue Jays] winning it, went to Atlanta; I was a crazy, crazy baseball fan and after the strike I was gone,” he said.

He showed how little he cares about baseball now.

“I know there’s a guy called Rodriguez who makes a lot of money, I couldn’t name you another player and I don’t care,” he said.

He also discussed the rumor that the 2013 Bridgestone Winter Classic could be canceled as soon as this week.

“I think it’s an important part of the game…It’s got a huge audience, [it’s] extremely profitable for the NHL which means it’s also profitable for everyone else. It has become a marquee event that I think is very, very important to everyone,” he said.

The league could lose more than $15 million on canceling the Winter Classic and that estimate doesn’t even include the money that the Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich. areas could lose in terms of tourism dollars.

Reportedly, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr recently spoke on the phone about various topics since Hurricane Sandy is still making it rather difficult for everyone to meet in New York City. Exactly what they spoke about and the tone they took, though, is unknown.

Because Melnyk spoke out publicly about CBA talks, expect an announcement to come of how he’s been fined tens of thousands of dollars just for saying what many other people are surely thinking. That’s part of the league’s strategy.

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