Ottawa Mayor Says City Has No Responsibility To Keep Senators Around
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson believes the city has "no financial responsibility to keep an NHL team in the municipality" even if Senators ownership has "mused about relocating the club," according to Jon Willing of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. Watson said, “We should not be using property tax dollars to subsidize an NHL team. That’s not the role of a municipal government, in my opinion." Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk last month prior to the NHL 100 Classic outdoor game said that he would "consider moving the franchise if the club’s financial situation worsened." Watson said those comments "really put a cloud over the game to a certain degree." He added, "It was not helpful when Eugene blurted out that maybe (the Senators) don’t have to move downtown because that’s exactly at odds with what he and (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman have been telling me going back four years, that the arena has to be in the downtown core." Watson said that the city of Ottawa under his administration "won’t do what other cities have done and give a professional hockey team money to keep the club around." Edmonton helped pay for the Oilers' Rogers Place, while Calgary "has offered the Flames money for a new arena." Watson: “It’s very clear that there is precious little support for direct subsidies to professional sports teams" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 1/12).