March 28, 2023
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GARRIOCH: Ryan Reynolds is interested in buying the Ottawa Senators

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Ryan Reynolds is serious about his interest in owning the Ottawa Senators.

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Sources told this newspaper Thursday morning the Vancouver-born Hollywood star has a “genuine” and “genuine” interest in purchasing the Senators from the family of late owner Eugene Melnyk, who passed away in March after a long illness.

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Reynolds officials may have already reached out to NHL officials and Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York-based investment bank hired by the family to sell the franchise, according to the information

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While some may have dismissed PEOPLE’s report as speculation, sources close to the 46-year-old star of the Dead Pool Movies say Reynolds is optimistic about being part of the club’s new ownership if the Melnyk family officially puts the team up for sale.

The belief is that Reynolds feels there is a good opportunity to find success with the Senators. Even if he isn’t the majority owner, it would make sense for Reynolds to have an interest in whoever acquires the controlling interest in the franchise.

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Sources say Reynolds wants to keep the team in Ottawa, and it’s doubtful NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman would approve of a potential buyer either way.

“Anyone interested in buying the team should pick up the phone and call Ryan Reynolds. He would be a perfect fit,” a source said.

Reynolds has connections to the area and even lived in Ottawa for a short time. Earlier this year, outgoing Mayor Jim Watson named a street “Ryan Reynolds Way.” During the pandemic, Reynolds and his wife Blake Lively made generous donations to the Ottawa Food Bank.

“It’s clear that Ottawa holds a special place in the heart of Ryan Reynolds,” said Watson when announcing the street’s name.

Ottawa goalkeeper Cam Talbot would welcome Reynolds with open arms.

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“I’m a big fan of his. Everybody is. Why don’t you like this guy?” Talbot said before taking on the Vegas Golden Knights at the Canadian Tire Center. “He is very sympathic. Everyone saw the news (Wednesday). I don’t know if anything will come of this, but that would be pretty cool.”

Talbot added, “I really like that Dead Pool movies. You’re not exactly PG. I like all the things he’s done. He brings this great sense of humor. You can pretty much turn your brain off, sit back and watch it all. He makes fun.”

Talbot said he would be perfectly willing to pay him a tribute Dead Pool on his mask. “I think I’d have to do it somehow. It would match the colors, so maybe that’s next.”

Coach DJ Smith wasn’t watching Dead Pool but he didn’t miss a beat when asked by TSN’s Claire Hanna if he was a fan of Reynolds?

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“Of course I am. He’s actually my favorite,” Smith said, laughing. “It’s interesting that you hear all these things coming out.”

If Reynolds was involved in a Senators purchase, it wouldn’t be his first venture in the sport.

Last year, Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney bought Welsh football club Wrexham AFC, a takeover documented in the FX documentary Welcome to Wrexham. With this news, it’s important to remember that there won’t be a shortage of viewers in Ottawa.

But Reynolds isn’t the only one who has tried to buy the club.

The signs are that the phones at NHL headquarters in New York are ringing non-stop with people looking to buy the Sens. This list only gets longer now that the senators have been awarded preferred bidder status by the National Capital Commission for the construction of an ice rink at LeBreton Flats.

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Once the team is sold, the retail price is expected to be between $700 million and $1 billion (all figures in the US). The belief is that Melnyk’s daughters Anna and Olivia would love to hold on to a legacy part of the franchise, but that’s up to whoever buys the team.

As this newspaper reported Thursday, Jeffrey and Michael Kimel, who formerly owned a minority interest in the Pittsburgh Penguins before they were sold to Fenway Sports Group last year, have expressed interest in buying the Senators and a stake in the LeBreton Flats project.

The Toronto-based brothers are on the board of Harlo Financial Group, which invests in real estate, wealth management and the entertainment industry. Michael Kimel is the leader of the Chase Hospitality Group.

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Another person who has been the subject of speculation is Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer.

The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs owner also owns a 20 percent stake in the Montreal Canadiens and is said to be coveting controlling interest in his own NHL team. He is also highly respected by Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

As the owner of the Andlauer Group, which owns transportation and logistics businesses in Canada, he may have kicked the hoops of the Ottawa franchise in the past.

Montreal-based Power Corp’s Andre Desmarais, who had a connection to another group bidding for LeBreton Flats in 2016, may also be exploring the possibility.

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