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Melnyk ready to complete purchase of Sens

6/20/2003 - Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA -- A judge approved the sale of the Corel Centre to
billionaire Eugene Melnyk for $20.2 million Friday, clearing the
way for him to complete his purchase of the Ottawa Senators.

The 18,500-seat arena is home to the Senators.

Justice James Chadwick made his decision three days after he
told several creditors who thought the price was too low he would
hear their objections to the sale.

Most of the money will go to Covanta Energy, a U.S. company that
was the arena's major creditor.

The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the purchase by
Melnyk on Tuesday. Melnyk is chairman of the Ontario-based
pharmaceutical giant Biovail Corp. and is a prominent thoroughbred
horse owner and owns Toronto's St. Michael's Majors of the Ontario
Hockey League.

No sale price was announced but a court-appointed monitor
representing the creditors recommended last month that the sale of
the team for $71.8 million be approved.

The Senators declared bankruptcy on Jan. 9 with a debt of more
than $160 million but still posted the NHL's best regular-season
record and pushed the Eastern Conference playoff finals to a
seventh game before losing to New Jersey. The Devils went on to win
the Stanley Cup.

After a 30-day vesting period, which allows creditors to review
terms of the agreement, ownership of the team should officially
transfer to Melnyk in mid-July.