NHL Commissioner in Ottawa to meet with officials, attend Senators game

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will be in Ottawa today, with a schedule that includes a meeting with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and attending the Senators game against the Florida Panthers.

Bettman’s visit comes as the sale of the Ottawa Senators moves into the next phase, winnowing down the number of interested parties in a process that could take a “matter of weeks”, according to the commissioner.

Sports business news publication Sportico reported earlier this month that nine different groups submitted bids to buy the franchise, with some valuing the team north of $900 million U.S.

The prospective owners include Montreal Canadiens minority owner Michael Andlauer and a consortium including actor Ryan Reynolds and Toronto-based real estate company The Remington Group, Sportico reported.

Mayor Sutcliffe confirmed to reporters last week that he would be meeting with Bettman to discuss the Senators and a possible new arena at LeBreton Flats.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with Commissioner Bettman and I’m glad to have the opportunity to speak with him on Monday,” Sutcliffe said. “I think the prospective owners are just as interested in Ottawa as they are in the Senators, which I’m excited about.”

“The city’s got a role to play in this. It may not be a financial role, but there are lots of other ways that the city can contribute to the process. I’m ready to have those conversations, but it’s very early.”

Postmedia reported Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will also meet with National Capital Commission CEO Tobi Nussbaum and other officials while in town today to discuss the possible new NHL-sized arena at LeBreton Flats.

The Senators reached a memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission last year aimed at putting an arena at LeBreton Flats, just west of downtown Ottawa. Nussbaum said in January that the NCC is “very optimistic” a lease agreement can be finalized by the fall.

Bettman’s visit to Ottawa is part of his tour of all 32 NHL cities during the season.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Michael Woods

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