Legendary rapper and business mogul Snoop Dogg wants to own the Ottawa Senators to help grow the game of hockey in urban communities and launch a youth hockey league in the U.S., according to an interview that aired on ESPN's First Take on Tuesday morning.
Snoop Dogg announced on Instagram on Monday that he was joining the ownership bid led by Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks, hours after it was first reported by CBC Ottawa sports contributor Ian Mendes.
"I've been watching hockey for about 25 years now and I watch more and more kids that look like me play the game, but I'm not seeing it being offered to the kids over here in America," Snoop Dogg said Tuesday.
"I've been down with the NHL for a long time. I've been going to games, announcing games, being part of the society, so this opportunity came in order for me to be part of the ownership of the Ottawa Senators."
Snoop Dogg said he would use the ownership of the team as a launching pad to start a new youth hockey league, which would mirror his successful youth football and basketball leagues.
He also talked about bringing hockey into urban communities that are "gang-riddled" and "poverty-stricken."
"Right now the NBA and the NHL are having some great playoff games. The kids need to know that there is an option to play hockey if you look like me," he said, adding sports can help people "find a way to become more family and more organized, and find ways to do things."
"Now these kids can learn how to play the sport. They can understand that this is another way out. You don't have to play football or basketball or baseball — here's another option."
Black ownership a key motivation
Snoop also told ESPN host Stephen A. Smith he jumped on the opportunity to join the ownership bid to help bolster the possibility of a first Black majority owner of an NHL team.
NBA legend Michael Jordan is the only Black majority owner of a major sports franchise.
"We can actually own a franchise and change the face of hockey and probably change the face of the world by bringing these worlds together," he said.
Canadian-born Hollywood star and business mogul Ryan Reynolds has been the most well-known face of a Senators bid to this point. He has partnered with the Remington Group.
In late March, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said six bidders remained in the competition to own the Senators.