Cyril Leeder Says LeBreton Flats is Only Potential Arena Site Senators Are Seriously Considering

As the Ottawa Senators continue to explore the possibility of building a new arena closer to the city’s core, they’ve been inundated with suggested locations. Over the past year, various sites have been proposed and discussed by both media outlets and city officials.

However, according to Cyril Leeder, President and CEO of the Senators, their list of serious considerations for NHL arena sites is a list of one: LeBreton Flats.

Leeder was a guest on Tuesday at the “Build Up Ottawa” event, hosted by the Ottawa Board of Trade. When asked at the event about potential alternative arena sites, Leeder said LeBreton Flats is the only site the Senators are seriously considering right now.

Although LeBreton stands out as a prime location, it’s not without its challenges. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman voiced reservations in a visit to Ottawa last year, citing concerns about its 6.3-acre size on Albert Street, between Preston Street and City Centre Avenue.

“It struck me as being a little small,” Bettman told the Ottawa media. “Because you want to do things around an arena. You need parking. You want to make sure you can build the arena big enough to have all the loading docks and TV hookups that make a building really accessible.”

In 2022, following the passing of owner Eugene Melnyk, the Senators secured preferred-bidder status to engage in negotiations with the NCC regarding the development of a major events centre, which would serve as the NHL team’s home and LeBreton’s centerpiece.

The Senators enlisted support from groups like Sterling Project Development (SPD), Populous, Tipping Point Sports, and Live Nation, which helped showcase the strength of their bid.

During his introductory press conference last year, new owner Michael Andlauer hinted at potential funding avenues for the arena’s construction, citing Edmonton’s success in utilizing a public-private partnership in the Oilers’ arena.

Leeder acknowledged that the arrangement with the NCC has some “shortcomings”, with both parties actively addressing them. However, all observers agree that discussions between the two sides have been far more friendly and collaborative than they’ve been in the past.

The team’s memorandum of understanding with the NCC regarding LeBreton is set to expire this fall, which adds yet another Senators storyline to an offseason that’s likely to be filled with them.

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