OTTAWA, Ontario ( Associated Press) – Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has died of an illness, the team said Monday night. He was 62.
The team announced Melnyk’s death with a statement from his family calling “an illness he faced with determination and courage.” The statement did not explain what the illness was, and a team spokesman did not immediately respond to a message seeking further details.
Melnyk had a liver transplant in 2015 after a public campaign for a donor. He has owned the Senators since 2003, when he bought the NHL club for $ 92 million. Ottawa reached the Stanley Cup final in 2007 and lost in five games to the Anaheim Ducks.
The Toronto native was involved in other businesses in Canada and in 2010 had an estimated net worth of $ 1.21 billion.
Melnyk bought the Senators after Rod Bryden’s deal to reclaim the franchise was unsuccessful.
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Eugene Melnyk, owner of Ottawa Senators,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “The words ‘passion’ and ‘dedication’ define the man who has owned the Ottawa Senators since 2003.
“While he was successful in business, it was our game and his senators that he was most passionate about. Eugene was often outspoken, but he maintained an unwavering commitment to the game and its roots and he loved nothing more than putting on a Senator jersey and encouraging his beloved team. On behalf of the entire National Hockey League, I express my deepest sympathy to Eugene’s daughters, Anna and Olivia, his extended family, and all those who have benefited from his generosity. ”
Senator Captain Brady Tkachuk said in a tweet: “Mr. Melnyk offered me, my teammates and many Sens players who came before us an opportunity to live out our dream. The Ottawa community will greatly appreciate you miss. Condolences to your family. “
Melnyk was also a successful thoroughbred horse racer and was twice named Canada’s top owner. His horses have won all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, including Archers Bay which won the ’98 Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes on its way to being named Canada’s three-year champion.
In 2013, Melnyk reduced its horse racing activities and switched from breeding to the purchase of yearlings and rather these races. Melnyk was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall in 2017.
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