Ottawa Senators owner and local businessman Eugene Melnyk died at the age of 62, the team announced on Monday.
According to the Senators’ statement, Melnyk had been battling an undisclosed illness for a lengthy amount of time. He died peacefully surrounded by loved ones.
“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,” the statement read.
Melnyk had been in charge of the Senators since 2003, when he bought the NHL franchise along with its arena for $92 million, as the team was on the brink of bankruptcy and potentially leaving Canada’s capital.
On the ice, Melnyk saw some wonderful hockey during his time in Ottawa. The team made its first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2007 after making the postseason the previous nine years, and in 2017 it saw an exhilarating Eastern Conference Final run led by then-captain Erik Karlsson.
Prior to purchasing the Senators, Melnyk had his first foray into sports ownership when he took control of Toronto's St. Michael's Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, with a goal of moving them to nearby Mississauga. As there was already a club in Mississauga, he bought that one as well and resold it a year later, to eventually move his Majors to Mississauga as the Steelheads. He then sold the team back for an undisclosed price in 2012.
Melnyk originally earned his wealth as the founder of Biovail Corp., a highly successful pharmaceutical company, and had his other hobby in horse racing flourish, as he owned over 500 horses. He was inducted into Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2017.
The man certainly left a mark on sports in Canada.
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