Ryan Reynolds attends Senators game at the Canadian Tire Centre

Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds was in attendance at the Canadian Tire Centre Tuesday night.

He waved to the crowd from a private suite on the 100 level when introduced during the first period of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks. Reynolds received a standing ovation from the crowd and Senators players during a stoppage of play in the first period.

It comes one night after Reynolds confirmed his interest in becoming an owner of the team while on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

“I am trying to do that,” Reynolds said after Fallon asked him if he was hoping to become an owner of the franchise. “It’s very expensive. I need a partner with pretty deep pockets.”

Reynolds also told Fallon about his strong connection to the capital.

“I love Ottawa,” he said. “I spent a long time in Vanier, which is a little town inside Ottawa.”

Several fans at the Canadian Tire Centre say his attendance at the game and the surrounding speculation has them excited about the team’s future.

“I think it’s awesome, it can drive ticket sales, get Van Wilder here,” said Rob Purdy. 

“Everyone would want to represent the Sens more for sure,” said Erika Roberts.

“A Canadian guy, great guy, does a lot for the community has ties to Ottawa donates to the food bank what more could you want?” said Canucks fan Kyler Stark.

But TSN hockey contributor Bruce Garrioch was more interested in who he attended the game with.

“I believe Ryan Reynolds is surrounded by bankers this evening. Some of those bankers are from Inner Circle Sports who did the deal that he did from Wrexham AFC, the football club he bought in Wales,” Garrioch told TSN during the Senators broadcast. “What’s interesting about Inner Circle Sports is that they represented Eugene Melnyk in his refinancing of this team in 2013.”

With experience in sports franchise ownership, many wonder if Reynolds could be part of the next group that operates the Ottawa Senators.

The Senators confirmed last week that the organization is for sale following the death of long-time owner Eugene Melnyk with a condition the team must remain in Ottawa.

On top of the excitement surrounding Reynolds Tuesday — Sens fans also treated to a surprise involving former player Chris Neil.

The team announced the former Senators alternate captain will have his number 25 retired by the Senators on Friday, February 17.

In a statement, Ottawa Senators president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc writes, “Chris Neil was and is everything that you would want an Ottawa Senator to be.”

“While his success on the ice made him one of this franchise’s most valued players – his work in the community, both as a player and following his career, have created a unique legacy. His impact on this city is a model for players across the National Hockey League.”

Neil made his debut with the Senators in 2001. He went on to play 15 seasons with the team, scoring 112 goals, and 138 assists in 1,026 regular season games.

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