The Ottawa Senators have officially announced the team is going up for sale, saying any new ownership would not be allowed to move the team from the city.
A news release from the team Friday said "a process has been initiated for the sale of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club."
"This was a necessary and prudent step to connect with those deeply interested parties who can show us what their vision is for the future of the team," said team chairman Sheldon Plener in the statement.
"A condition of any sale will be that the team remains in Ottawa."
The NHL team wouldn't comment earlier this week when Los Angeles-based Sportico reported the Senators hired a sport banking firm that helps in team sales. Canadian superstar Ryan Reynolds seems to have expressed interest in buying the team.
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New arena deal in the worksThe team has a preliminary agreement to once again work toward a new downtown arena at LeBreton Flats, with the next update expected in January. A previous deal fell apart in 2019.
That arena process is seen as a key part of the sale, with the team's current home in the western suburb of Kanata approaching 30 years of use.
The ice in the Canadian Tire Centre during Senators training camp Sept. 22, 2022. The arena opened in January 1996. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
Arena projects often see the proponents asking the city to chip in, and with LeBreton Flats falling on Crown land, the federal government and the City of Ottawa may both be asked to help pay for the Senators' new home.
Ottawa's mayor-elect Mark Sutcliffe said in an email Wednesday that he does not support taxpayer money going toward the construction of a new arena "regardless of its location."
When the cost of a new arena is added in, an incoming owner is easily looking at a total investment north of $1 billion, said the team's original owner Bruce Firestone this week.
Ottawa has lost four straight games and six of its first 10 this season, putting the team at the bottom of the Atlantic division.
The Senators haven't made the playoffs since 2017.