OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — There appears to be celebrity interest in buying the Ottawa Senators, the National Hockey League team for sale in Canada’s capital city.
Rap impresario Snoop Dogg said in an Instagram post Monday that he was “looking forward” to being part of a bid by Los Angeles-based businessman Neko Sparks, who would be the first Black owner of an NHL team.
“I WANNA BRING HOCKEY TO OUR COMMUNITY,” Snoop Dogg wrote.
Last week, Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds was reportedly linked to a bid that would top $1 billion for the team. Neither Sparks nor Reynolds have publicly confirmed their interest in buying the Senators.
Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney last month basked in the storybook run of their Welsh soccer club, Wrexham, which secured promotion to the fourth tier of the English game.
The board of directors of Senators Sports & Entertainment announced in November that a process has been initiated for the sale of the club. The board retained Galatioto Sports Partners, a firm specializing in the sports finance and advisory business, as its financial adviser.
“A condition of any sale will be that the team remains in Ottawa,” the team said at the time.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk died last year at 62 after battling an illness. He had previously said he planned to leave the team to his daughters, Anna and Olivia. Melnyk purchased the Senators in 2003 for $92 million at a time when the franchise faced bankruptcy and a tenuous future in the nation’s capital.
A recent valuation by Forbes listed the Senators at $800 million, 24th out of the NHL’s 30 teams.
Under Melnyk, the Senators played in the Stanley Cup final in 2007 when Ottawa lost in five games to the Anaheim Ducks. Ottawa nearly returned to the Cup final a decade later but lost the deciding game of the conference final in double overtime. Since that loss, the Senators have missed the playoffs six straight seasons.
The team has played at the Canadian Tire Centre in a former suburb since the arena opened in 1996. The team has expressed interest in building an arena at a site closer to downtown Ottawa.