Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has no clue how to make friends, but he sure knows how to look like a fool in public.
We all remember the time when Melnyk seemed to threaten the fanbase with the thought of selling and relocating the team when he raised the idea of a move during the city’s festivities to mark the NHL’s 100th anniversary, saying “if it doesn’t look good here, it could look very, very nice somewhere else.”
Then, there was the cringe-worthy interview with bottom-pair defenseman Mark Borowiecki where the fans were fed lies about the team’s future. Months later, we all know how it ended; the team’s three best players, Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel were traded at the deadline, and things are a mess in Ottawa with the ongoing issues with LeBreton Flats and where the team could play in the coming seasons.
But yes, Melnyk managed to make this worse on Thursday evening… During an interview with Sportsnet’s FAN 590, the Sens owner questioned whether the fans that are critical of his team are “real Senators fans,” after claiming that one of the more vocal ones was “a 12-year-old from Toronto.”
“The key for us, first of all, is to identify who is a Senators fan and not. I’ve had … we tripped up one of these guys and it turned out it was some little 12-year-old in Toronto who was upset with the Senators in general. I’m a high profile person that’s an easy target. Let them do what they want to do. I basically ignore 99 percent of it. For our fans that are real fans, we’re doing the best we can. All we can do is to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve had a great record for the last 15 or 16 years since I bought them. We’ve been to the Stanley Cup Finals, we’ve been to the conference finals, we’ve had all-star games, we’ve had drafts, we’ve got outdoor games. We’re doing everything, more than most franchises, as far as what do for our fans.”
Major face palm here. The guy either needs to get out or learn to listen to the criticism of fans who pay hard-earned money to support the young players of this team.
And we all know that this young club will need a lot of support for the major rebuilding phase they have entered.