Get Out. Stay Out. Your Time Is Up.

          Angry, pissed off, vexed, hostile, and irate. These are the feelings that Sens fans all around the world are having about our “beloved” owner, Mr. Eugene Melnyk. Eugene Melnyk bought the Ottawa Senators back in 2003, and saved the team from being moved; Sens fans everywhere called him a hero. Unfortunately, due to the following circumstances, things started getting worse: the Sens switched from being a playoff team every year to a team that made the playoffs every other season; Sens traded fan favourites, and got nothing in return; ticket prices were raised for games, and the owner and the fans started butting heads. Still, that was nothing compared to what happened back in December. On the eve of the Centennial Classic, Melnyk came out and surprised everyone. Melnyk, “told reporters the franchise is doing ‘okay’ financially and, while he’s not thinking about moving the team right now, he would if it became ‘a disaster.’” This statement came out of nowhere and caught Sens fans by surprise. It angered everyone, especially since that weekend was supposed to be a time of celebration and not a time of threatening to move the team. That weekend, Sens fans on twitter got the hashtag #MelnykOut number 4 trending in all of Canada. It made headlines all over the league, and frankly that was the start of the war between Eugene Melnyk and Sens fans. It’s time for him to leave, before things get ugly.

Since Melnyk took the reins of owner of the Ottawa Senators, the Sens have had roughly 8 fan favorites. By fan favourites, I am talking about players who fans wore their names on their jerseys, players that had huge impacts on the community, players that made fans cry when they left. These 8 players were Spezza, Alfredsson, Fisher, Heatley, Turris, Karlsson, Phillips, and Neil. Now out of those 8 players, 6 of them were either traded, or not re-signed and this caused a lot of unhappy feelings with the fans. Spezza was traded to the Stars, and when asked about it, he said “I think it was best for me to move on, and I think Bryan felt it could help the team to help me move on, too.” Alfredsson went to the Red wings because of a contract impasse. Kyle Turris was traded to the Predators because the Sens could not really afford him along with other players. Chris Neil, a huge fan favourite, was not re-signed by the Sens and ended up retiring. So what does this have to do with Melnyk? Doesn’t the General Manager deal with trades? Well, if one was to think that, they would be wrong. After Turris was traded this season, he said “I think management did want to sign me, but I think the owner didn’t.” This obviously shows that Melnyk has a disconnect with the fans, as he has traded or otherwise gotten rid of 6 fan favourites, with fans complaining every time. He has gone against the advice, and will, of General Managers, making deals for them just because he could. He is showing that he doesn’t know what Ottawa fans want, and even if he did, he doesn’t give a hoot. If he stays this summer, Karlsson will likely be traded. This is why he must leave before it gets completely out of hand. Sens claim they are in a rebuild right now, but with Eugene Melnyk on board, all the good players will eventually get traded. The only reasons for that being, either Melnyk does not like them or he cannot afford them.

An owner hires people to be the front office staff for him. This means that they run the business and if there is a serious problem, they will contact the owner. Sadly, Melnyk hasn’t gotten this memo. He is clearly doing the work of others and not letting them do their jobs. For example, Turris said that the owner didn’t want him, even though the management did. This means that instead of letting the manager run the team, like he is supposed to do, he stuck his nose in and made a trade that frankly did not help the Sens that much. He also fired the previous CEO of the team, hired a new one, and the new one has recently quit. Who do you think took the position of CEO? That’s right, Melnyk. Instead of hiring a new person and letting them do their job, he decided to take over the position of CEO, meaning that he will be even more hands on than before. This means that Melnyk will be in charge of contracts, and can be able to VETO Pierre Dorion’s decisions. Now, from a business standpoint, Melnyk is qualified to be the CEO. He founded a pharmaceutical company back in 1989 and owns his own thoroughbred horses stable. However, from a hockey standpoint, he isn’t. He doesn’t have the qualifications: he has never played, never scouted and for sure, never has been a GM before. Still, he is in the position to make hockey business moves that could change the teams future, and that is a scary thought. If he doesn’t like a player, or he doesn’t feel like paying a player, he could go out and trade them without even realizing the consequences. That is why you hire people who have a business and hockey background to be the CEO for a hockey team. They will weigh both sides of the table and make decisions based off them, and not make decisions based solely on one background. Another issue with Melnyk being hands on is that he doesn’t have a PR Team (Public Relations). Basically, this means that Melnyk speaks directly to the fanbase. Being an owner is very stressful, and when fans aren’t coming to the games, you can’t blame the man for being annoyed with the fanbase. However, you can’t go out and criticize the fans and threaten to move the team, as those are emotions speaking and not really the intention. But that’s what Eugene did and he regretted it later on. This was proven in January, when he went on air and said this: “That (his statements) hit a nerve in Ottawa that really kind of exploded and it wasn’t meant to hit the nerve of the city,” Melnyk told The Canadian Press in an interview Wednesday: “There’s no thought in my mind [of relocation].” So obviously, he calmed down and realized that his statements were uncalled for and that they had caused a lot of unease in the city, resulting in him backtracking his statements. This could have all been avoided if he had a PR Team. If he had a PR Team, he would be able to tell his feelings and emotions about the situation and the PR Team would be able to tell the fan base, without upsetting them with unnecessary comments. However, Melnyk believes he doesn’t need one, when he clearly he does, and if he doesn’t back off and get one, there will be more public relation disasters like this one. So Melnyk has two choices: Back off and let people complete their jobs respectfully , coming to him if they need help; or, if he can’t do that, he should relinquish his position of owner and move into another business where he can be this hands on. You can’t be both, and he has a decision to make.

Millions. Billions. That’s the price range of being a NHL owner. You have to have the funds to be able to run a successful NHL team. On top of that, you need to realize that your primary goal as a NHL owner is not to make money, because most teams don’t make a lot of money. Owners get their money once they sell their team, as the team value increases. According to Forbes, Ottawa Senators are worth 420 million dollars. Now that may sound like a lot, but compared to the rest of the league, Ottawa ranks 20th out of 31. So obviously, the Sens are not doing that great financially. The Ottawa Senators’ revenue is $135 Million. This sounds good; however, since their value is 420 million, this must mean that they have a lot of expenses that they don’t disclose to the public. The same goes for all teams. Teams don’t make a lot through revenue, that is why the owners usually pitch in with their own money to help out the team, help them grow. However in Melnyk’s case, he is worth 1.15 billion dollars, which is 5% down from 2017. He is ranked 92 out of 100 on Canada’s richest people, showing that he will soon drop off that list. This shows that he is losing money instead of gaining money, meaning that he doesn’t have the funds to support the Sens financially. This is where the fan base is affected. Since Melnyk can’t afford to finance the Sens, he has to rely on increasing the ticket prices for games. Forbes lists the average ticket price for Sens games at $55. That doesn’t seem like a lot but if you are a family of four that is already $220. Add in $20 parking, $44 to $45 for food and you are at a total of $284. All that without calculating gas to get to the arena. That is a lot of money for around 3 hours of entertainment, especially with the Phoenix Pay issue going around Ottawa. Many families can’t afford to go to games on a regular basis, meaning lower attendance, translating to less revenue for the Sens. To counteract this, Melnyk has to find other ways to earn money. Sadly, this means that Melnyk has to get rid of players because he can’t afford to keep them. For example, Karlsson could be worth around $13M per year. Since Melnyk can’t afford that, he is trying desperately to get rid of him to save some money, captain and fan favourite or not. Melnyk is broke and he can’t afford players, so he will do whatever it takes to keep his money. He is the Scrooge of the NHL, and he doesn’t care his ways will destroy the Sens if they are to continue. The whole Alfredsson saga of him not ending out his playing career in Ottawa, causing outrage and sadness from fans,  was because Melnyk didn’t want to pay him. The same is being applied to our generational talent Erik Karlsson. If Melnyk keeps up his ways, Ottawa will not have any good players because Melnyk won’t pay them, so the Sens will become a terrible team. Since Melnyk is so interested in his money, he should just sell the team and collect. He bought the Sens for $93 Million, if he sells now he will get $420 million. That’s a $327 million increase. He needs to release his stranglehold over the team, then maybe he can relax and enjoy his wealth and retirement in his Barbados home.

Melnyk failed at trading our beloved Erik Karlsson. He tried so hard to get rid of that contract because he couldn’t afford it. He ignored what his fans wanted and stuck his nose in the business of the GM. He is very out of touch, he interferes in the operation of areas he has no knowledge of, and he has a lack of finances that is holding this team back. He may have failed at trading Karlsson right now, but mark my words, in the summer he will be right back at it again. That is why, Sens fans, this is our time. In the next 4 months we need to be unrelenting, the time is now. It is time to get Melnyk out of our town, and the only way this can happen is uniting as one, and showing him we don’t want him. He doesn’t care about what the fans want, he doesn’t respect the decisions or roles of his employees, and he doesn’t have the finances to run this team. We deserve an owner who is the opposite of him, and the only way we will get that is by ousting Melnyk. Therefore, #MelnykOut.

What do you guys think? Is there anyway Sens fans can actually get rid of him, or are we stuck with Melnyk until he decides to leave? Comment down below and don’t forget to check our Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.

By edbenhin

Huge sports fan in general and university student. Started this blog back in high school with Cam Chaddad! Teams I cheer for outside of Ottawa are the Arizona Coyotes (Shhhhh), Arsenal FC (#KroenkeOut) and the New England Patriots (6 rings baby). My so called main expertise is on the Sens and Fury so you will see me tweeting a bunch about them on @613_Sports. I'm always looking to improve this blog so feel free to shoot me advice and tips.

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