OTTAWA - In response to numerous inquiries, Eugene Melnyk made the following statement today regarding the Canadian Football League's (CFL) Ottawa Renegades franchise:
"I have been overwhelmed by the level of interest and confidence that people in Ottawa and across Canada have shown in identifying me as a potential CFL owner. I was personally swept up by the emotional appeal that surrounded the Ottawa Senators several years ago, so I fully understand the desire of football fans to save this franchise.
It is out of respect for that passion that I want to dissuade any hopes from being raised unnecessarily.
My focus is - and will continue to be - on bringing a Stanley Cup to Ottawa. I'm now leading Ottawa's bid to host the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, the NHL entry draft and the NHL awards television show. Scotiabank Place continues to be focused on bringing world-class entertainment to the city of Ottawa.
It's important in business - and in our lives - to deliver against any objectives we set. I fully intend to deliver on the professional and junior hockey initiatives I have undertaken, but it would be unfair for all concerned for me to make a commitment to the Ottawa Renegades that I don't believe I could focus my full attention on.
Ottawa has had a storied football franchise with a great deal of heritage and history. It is a defining feature of our community and I share everyone's concern with respect to its future. In the interests of clarity, I will not be seeking to purchase the franchise.
Although I have never had a discussion with Mayor Bob Chiarelli regarding the Renegades, it would be an overwhelming task to attempt at this time for Capital Sports to propose a successful long-term plan to the City. CFL commissioner Tom Wright had been advised by my management group, prior to this announcement, of our intention not to pursue the CFL franchise. I certainly wish the commissioner and his board of governors success in maintaining a CFL franchise here in Ottawa."
Eugene Melnyk is the owner and chairman of Capital Sports Groups, the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, Scotiabank Place and CapitalTickets.ca.
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