Quebecor CEO says plans for Senators to play games in Quebec City halted

Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau says the death of former Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has ended conversations between the team and his company about the Senators potentially playing games in Quebec City.

“There were discussions regarding the possibility of having few games of the Senators in Quebec City,” said Péladeau, but after the death of Melynk, Péladeau said he believed it was “not the right time to consider any conversation of this nature.”

La Presse reported in March that the Quebec government, the NHL, the Ottawa Senators and Quebecor had held discussions with a view to bringing Senators games to Quebec City’s for the 2022-2023 season. Quebecor would have provided the Senators with a financial package in exchange for five games played at the Videotron Center in Quebec City.

Péladeau did not shut the door completely on potentially reviving the talks between the Senators and Quebecor, saying: “We’ll find out in the future if this project is possible or not.”

Péladeau sidestepped questions about if he had any interest in purchasing the Senators, saying “there is no such news about Quebecor buying or having an associating” with the Senators.

Quebecor has long sought to return NHL hockey to Quebec. In 2015, the company submitted an application for an expansion franchise to bring back the Nordiques after a 22-year hockey hiatus in the provincial capital, but the NHL rejected to bid, selecting Las Vegas and Seattle instead.

Earlier this month, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Senators were not for sale. “The franchise is being professionally run,” Bettman told reporters. “The club’s not on the market. There’s no urgency. The club’s not unstable.”

Melnyk appointed a board of directors comprising long-time business associates to oversee the day-to-day operations of the team prior to his death. The team is currently owned by Melnyk’s two daughters, Anna, 23 and Olivia, 19.

Bettman said that it’s “ultimately his two daughters are going to have to decide what they want to do” with the team.

Despite Bettman saying the Senators are not for sale, that has not stopped others from showing interest in purchasing the team.

Roger Greenberg, the executive chairman of Ottawa based real estate company Minto Group, said his family would “likely participate” in possible new ownership if the Melnyk daughters decide to put the team up for sale.

With files from the Canadian Press and CTV’s Michael Woods 

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