These are happy days for Eugene Melnyk.
The Ottawa Senators’ owner has at last found an investor to ease his financial burden.
Poor Eugene. To hear him tell it, he’s damn near destitute. What with overpriced players and their sky-high salaries, the soaring costs of marketing, arena upkeep, blah de blah, it’s got so a jock tycoon can barely make ends meet.
How bad is it? Well, so bad that a couple of months ago, Eugene had to sell off his beloved thousand-acre horsey farm at Winding Oaks Farm in Florida, along with the 72 racing thoroughbreds that went with it.
He divested his other hockey interest, the Mississauga St. Mike’s of the OHL, in 2012, about the same time his ex-wife was taking him to the cleaners in divorce court.
He’s always pissing and moaning that he’s lost over $100 million since he bought the Sens in 2003. (For all his pleadings of poverty, the Sens’ value has soared.Rich broadcasting deals with Bell Media/TSN will generate some $30-$40 million in annual revenue for the team over the next 12 years. That would jack up the value of the Sens and their arena to some $400 million US—not bad for a $127 million investment in ‘03.)
Melnyk, however, has no intention of putting that dough back into the team.
He recently told the Ottawa Petfinder that “just because you have extra money in your pocket, doesn’t mean you go out and spend it.”
“His philosophy of patiently – and inexpensively – developing raw talent remains front and centre in the Senators organization.” [Translation: Fuck the fans. Melnyk will again be the league’s leading tightwad, with the lowest payroll in the NHL this season at $54.9 million. If that means missing the playoffs again, well, tough shit.)
But let’s face it, the putty faced squillionaire won’t be clipping coupons anytime soon. Despite all that pissing and moaning, he’s still one of Canada’s 100 richest businessthingies, making ends meet with a mere billion dollars in investments.(Technically, the Great Canadian™ is one of the richest citizens of Barbados, where he spends sufficient time to avoid paying taxes in Canada).
And now he’s got a new investor to ease his financial pain: Dan Greenberg is the silent, deep-pocketed backer who might some day take over the team from Melnyk.
Dan had the good fortune to be born into the Greenberg family of Minto Homes fame, which is the capital’s second largest homebuilder and manager of some 14,000 rental units across Canada. Dan’s mother, Shirley, is one of Canada’s wealthiest women.
Greenberg and his wife, former Ottawa Petfinder drama critic Barbara Crook, are the city’s new power couple and diehard Sens jock sniffers. They go on road trips on the team plane and have a special box at Canadian Tire Centre, where they insist guests wear Sens jerseys and wave team flags.
Bruce Firestone is 103.