Ottawa out of trouble?

While everybody called the Rangers/Penquins deal the end of hockey, why don’t we look at a possibility of new life for another team. The Ottawa Senators and their recent (pending) purchase by Rod Bryden.

Have a look

From the Globe and MailBryden went down to wire


Tuesday, February 11, 2003 – Page S1

OTTAWA — About 15 minutes before a news conference yesterday to announce a deal to save the Ottawa Senators, Rod Bryden took a call on his cellphone from a frantic colleague.

The news conference had to be called off, the caller said. A transfer number required to wire money from a bank account was missing. “Don’t have that press conference, because I haven’t got the wire transfer number yet,” the caller told Bryden as he walked toward a room packed with reporters.

Bryden laughed and kept walking.

“I’m assuming that they’ll find the transfer number,” Bryden said after finishing the conversation with his colleague. “This kind of thing has happened 50 times before in this deal, so I am just assuming we’ll find it and it will be done.”

The transfer number was found, and Bryden announced that after three weeks of negotiation he had struck a deal with creditors to acquire the National Hockey League club and the Corel Centre.

The deal still has to be approved by a court overseeing the Senators’ bankruptcy protection and could take two months to close.

Bryden provided few details yesterday, but according to sources familiar with the deal, it includes selling the franchise to a limited partnership for about $170-million. The partnership plans to sell units to investors and raise about $200-million. Investors would receive more than $60-million in total tax breaks, which are common in these sorts of deals, according to sources.

Ultimately, Bryden is expected to end up with control of the partnership and acquire the Corel Centre. In total, the club and the arena are expected to emerge with $50-million of debt, down from nearly $400-million today.

The deal is a testament to Bryden’s tenacity, sources close to the negotiations said. A similar proposal failed twice in the past year and creditors went into the latest discussions leery of success. Even some of Bryden’s advisers were uncertain the limited partnership arrangement could be revived for a third time after it collapsed on Dec. 31.

Bryden confirmed yesterday that completing the deal was far from certain. In fact, he said it nearly collapsed several times over the past few weeks.

“There were certainly many occasions when there was a point at which parties on opposite sides of the issues seem to see an issue as terribly important and be unable to agree,” Bryden said in an interview.

“There were several points at which one could have concluded that it just might not get resolved, and if it doesn’t, this transaction cannot proceed.”

The process began on Jan. 14 when Bryden announced he would submit a bid to buy the club and the arena. The club had filed for bankruptcy protection a few days earlier with more than $160-million of debt, including $60-million owed to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and FleetBoston Financial.

Bryden’s proposal is a reworked version of his limited partnership structure, this time with the backing of New York businessman Nelson Peltz.

Sources familiar with the negotiations said Bryden’s initial offer was too low for some creditors, and they balked. The creditors had a clear idea of what the club was worth and some also questioned reviving the partnership arrangement.

In the first two weeks of negotiation, it appeared Bryden’s proposal would not succeed. But Bryden persisted. He raised his price and modified the partnership arrangement.

Then Eugene Melnyk, a Toronto billionaire, expressed interest in buying the club for cash, and it appeared Bryden’s bid would die. Why turn down an all-cash offer from a billionaire when negotiations with Bryden seemed so complex, some observers suggested. But Bryden continued negotiating, and the creditors stuck with him.

The creditors “felt, at the end of the day, they were more in control with the Bryden deal,” one source said.

Last week, the creditors’ tone began to change. The deal looked workable as long as Bryden could assure the creditors all of the pieces would come together as planned.

Last Thursday as he watched the Senators tie the Philadelphia Flyers, Bryden got word that all the major issues had been resolved. Over the next few days, lawyers prepared final documents, and on Sunday, Bryden signed off on the final deal after an afternoon of skiing with his children at Mont-Tremblant, Que.

Yesterday, asked how he felt, he replied, “I’ll certainly be relieved to have it agreed [by the court].” He noted that there are still several hurdles to clear. “The time when I think we can truly celebrate is somewhere around in April,” he said.

Melnyk said yesterday that it was too early to congratulate Bryden, because if the deal falls apart, he is still ready to jump in.

“I think it’s important to wait and see,” Melnyk said. “I’ll play the role that I had stated earlier, that in the event that there is a threat that the team could be put up for auction, I would be there. I’d be really thrilled. It’s one of the things you daydream about. To own a team, a competitive team in a great Canadian city.”

8 Responses to Ottawa out of trouble?

  1. redwingsin03 says:

    The problem with hockey lies right in the city of New York. For years people have said that the Detroit Red Wing are the problem because they have a high payroll, talented players, and because they are always at or near the top. Why is that the problem? It isnt, the problem are the teams such as the New York Fricken Rangers…..Has there been one players in the last 5 years that the Rangers hasnt gotten or had an interst in? They have the highest payroll. and just happen to be one of the worst teams in the leauge. Instead of getting ahold of things and trying to make them better by balancing things out, what do they do, over the last few years they have gone out and got Pavel Bure, how many games had Bure played in a Rangers uniform????? Big help isnt he, They went out and got Theo Fluery…….That lasted a long time……Then they went out and got Bryan Berard, not the best of players since his unfortunate eye injury but a name nonetheless….Then recently they gave up a hell of a young player for a hell of a young player in return, (*jason york for tom poti) i give you props for that New York, that was an iffy trade, but equal if not better. But then here we go again, Dariuns Kasperitus, OVERPAID, thats the Rangers MO, get all the players you can no matter what it takes, spend all that money on Kasper eventhough the year before he had a terrible year, then here is the killer, Bobby Holik…….who the hell pays this man almost ten million dollars a year????? The Rangers do, well guess what New York, take him, cause noone else wants him at that price,oh and how many games has he played this year??? Then here is the killer…………..$4 million dollars for one of the best players in the leauge………what are you trying to do New York? are you singlehandedly trying to ruin our beloved sports by taking every players that comes available, stockpiling it over there in your already full closet of underachieving superstars? i hope that you know, althogh a great player, and personally one of my favorites, Alexei Kovalev isnt gonna do anything but score maybe one or two goals a game for you, so now you will lose 5-3 instead of 5-2…….way to go new york, keep spending…..Maybe you should take a page out of the redwings book, they dont over pay for anything, if anything players take paycuts to be here, what do we have that you dont? a crappy city scenery wise, nothing to do outside of the casinos, a football team that cant score on themselves, crappy weather and……oh, WE WIN, why dont you build something other than a chance to suck in the biggest spotlight in the world, if you win, you wont have to over pay for these guys, we have about ten guys on this team that teams would have and tried to pay almost double what they are making now, but no, they come here to win, they go to you to get paid……You suck, and you will continue to suck until you get your head out of your behind and hire someone that knows what the hell hes doing, not glenn sather……..he had turned into the ass of all asses,,,,,,,,,,Good luck ranger fans, if you want you can start rooting for the wings, we dont have all the high profile players, but we have enough of them, and we win….


  2. Robert says:

    Wings aint the problem…tehy don’t pay Bobby Holiks 9 million.

  3. aaron says:

    I have a question, if what the Rangers are doing is doing absolutely nothing to affect the competative balance of the league, how are they destroying the league? If all they have are overpaid underachievers, are the overpaid underachievers going to make some other team instantly better if they signed them for 3 million dollars, say?

    Oh, and blaming the Rangers for being stupid when Bure got injured is retarded. That’s like saying that if Hasek went down w/ an injury, the Wings were run by idiot management. You can’t control injuries.

  4. Genius says:

    Not only that but tsn’s couchmaster reports that they are interested in getting Bates Battaglia of the carolina hurricanes and Brad May of the Pheonix coyotes

  5. devfanman4 says:

    I think the point of his post was money and not necessarily destroying the league based on competitive balance. Players who are renegotiating now believe they can get more money if they go to the rangers.

  6. OldNord says:

    But Bure’s always be an injury prone. 10 millions for a guy who playing about 60/65 games by season sounds crazy.

  7. aaron says:

    Hey, blame Florida for that. He’s had that contract for years now. And he’s only missed one prior season, hasn’t he?

    Not that I’m standing up for the Rangers here, I’m just not going to diss on every single thing they do just b/c they’re the Rangers. If they do something positive (and the Bure trade was a good acquisition), then I’m going to give them their props.

  8. OldNord says:

    Bure’s ten last season

    76-44-15-63-82-11-74-82-68-27 games

    five under 65 games.

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