Melnyk ready to complete purchase of Sens

Updated: June 20, 2003, 5:07 PM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press