Melnyk (via Ottawa Senators)
Eugene Melnyk, the billionaire owner of the Ottawa Senators, passed away on Monday, the team announced. He was 62.
“It is with great sadness that the family of Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Senators hockey organization announce his passing on March 28, 2022 after an illness he faced with determination and courage,” said a release from the team.
“Loving father to Anna and Olivia, Eugene was a devoted son to Vera and the late Dr. Ferdinand Melnyk, a caring brother to Lydia and a loving companion to Sharilyne. The businessman, sports franchise owner and philanthropist died peacefully surrounded by his family and will be fondly remembered by his many friends and associates.”
Condolences began pouring in after the news broke late Monday evening.
“Mr. Melnyk provided me, my teammates, and many Sens players who came before us with an opportunity to live out our dream,” tweeted Sens captain Brady Tkachuk. “The Ottawa community will miss you greatly. Condolences to your family.”
Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, described Melnyk as passionate and committed. “Whether it was in the boardroom with his fellow governors, at the rink with his beloved Senators or in the community with his philanthropy, he cared deeply about the game, about his team and about bettering the lives of those in need, particularly underserved children, organ donation and, most recently, with his commitment to his parents’ home country of Ukraine.” Melnyk had mobilized the Senators organization to help with Ukraine relief efforts, including using the Canadian Tire Centre as a drop-off point for item donations.
“While we didn’t always see eye to eye on some issues, I was always appreciative that Mr. Melnyk stepped forward to keep the @Senators in Ottawa, solidifying the organization’s place as an integral part of our city. My sincere condolences go out to his family and his colleagues,” tweeted Mayor Jim Watson.
The full Senators release is below
It is with great sadness that the family of Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Senators hockey organization announce his passing on March 28, 2022 after an illness he faced with determination and courage.
Loving father to Anna and Olivia, Eugene was a devoted son to Vera and the late Dr. Ferdinand Melnyk, a caring brother to Lydia and a loving companion to Sharilyne. The businessman, sports franchise owner and philanthropist died peacefully surrounded by his family and will be fondly remembered by his many friends and associates.
Eugene was a proud Canadian, born May 27, 1959 to parents from Ukraine. His motto was “Carpe Diem”, an adage he enthusiastically embraced during his life. A passionate hockey fan, Eugene was the owner, governor and chairman of the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators, the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League and previously the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League. He was founder and former chairman of Biovail Corp., once the largest pharmaceutical company in Canada. More recently, he was chairman and chief executive of Neurolign, a fledgling medical device company and chairman of Clean Beauty Collective, a boutique company that produces ethically sourced products. He was also an Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Armed Forces and a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Eugene’s love of hockey led him to establish Capital Sports & Entertainment in 2003, which owns and operates the NHL’s Ottawa Senators hockey club. The company and its affiliates also own and operate the Canadian Tire Centre arena and manage Sensplex properties in Ottawa. Eugene never wavered in his desire and commitment to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation’s capital. Under his ownership, the Senators played in the 2007 Stanley Cup finals and the Conference Finals in 2017. Eugene was confident the current team of talented players and coaching staff that he and his organization built will challenge for and eventually deliver on that championship promise.
He was also a successful horse racing breeder, twice named Canada’s Outstanding owner. His horses won many of the sport’s most coveted prizes, including the Canadian Triple Crown, the Travers Stakes in Saratoga and the Gold Cup in Barbados.
Eugene supported the military and honoured Canada’s Armed Forces regularly during Senators' hockey games. He visited the troops in Afghanistan, delivering hockey equipment and souvenirs, and served as Honorary Colonel of the 414 (EWS) Squadron from 2014 to 2019.
Eugene was a man of faith and a practising Orthodox Catholic. A generous philanthropist, he supported numerous charitable causes, including St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Help Us Help the Children and St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, his alma mater. A resident of Barbados, Eugene founded Providence School for pre-kindergarten to Grade 10, where he served as chairman of trustees and the board of management.
Eugene championed initiatives through the Ottawa Senators and the Senators Community Foundation. The charitable organization invested more than $100-million to support local charities and community programs that help children and youth across the capital region. He was the lead donor of Anna House, a childcare facility in Belmont, New York and Roger Nielson House, a paediatric palliative care facility in Ottawa named after a beloved former coach. Each year, Eugene hosted Skate for Kids at the Canadian Tire Centre, where he donated hockey equipment and jerseys to hundreds of underserved children.
Eugene’s family extends their sincere gratitude to the dedicated doctors and nurses who cared for him.