Bettman suggests NHL may intervene in Ottawa's arena situation

Things have not been going well for the Ottawa Senators on and off the ice, and the NHL is certainly not oblivious to the situation currently unfolding in Canada’s capital.

With non-stop complications in Ottawa’s plan to develop an arena in the city’s downtown core, and team owner Eugene Melnyk suing the Trinity Development Group for $700 Million due to the project’s shortcomings and an alleged conflict of interest, commissioner Gary Bettman suggested that the league could step in at some point to try and help facilitate a deal.

“There are some places where we have been involved in and I think been very constructive. Edmonton, Pittsburgh, among others come to mind,” the commissioner noted at the Board of Governors meeting. “There have been other places where we’ve been disinvited by one of the participants. We don’t like to go where we’re not welcome if it’s not going to be helpful.”

Worth noting is that Melnyk was not at the meetings, but was represented by Senators alternate governor Sheldon Plener.

Gary Bettman says the NHL is willing to step in and help Ottawa facilitate a new arena deal. If allowed, of course. (Getty)

The NHL’s involvement in the past has yielded some positive results. With the case of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bettman’s contributions were deemed “invaluable” in making PPG Paints Arena (formerly known as Consol Energy Center) a state of the art facility.

Dealing with the situation the Oilers recently stared down, Bettman aided in facilitating an agreement between the city of Edmonton and team owner Daryl Katz for the construction of Rogers Place. The new arena hosted its first season of Oilers hockey during the 2016-17 campaign and helped the team move on from Rexall Place (now known as Northlands Coliseum) which opened in 1974.

So, if the NHL commissioner’s track record is any indication of what may happen if the league steps in, it may not be a bad thing for Melnyk to accept Bettman’s help.

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