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Bulletin: Melnyk appoints an executive leadership team for Senators Sports & Entertainment

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
OTTAWA – Senators Sports & Entertainment owner and chairman Eugene Melnyk today announced the creation of an executive leadership team. Current president and chief executive officer Roy Mlakar will be leaving his post at the end of his contract on June 30, 2009.


“Roy Mlakar’s leadership over the past 13 years has been an impressive journey of achievement and success,” said Melnyk. “Roy has worked in professional sports for nearly 40 years. That depth of experience and leadership, along with his constant compassion and support for Ottawa’s many charitable organizations has contributed greatly to defining the Ottawa Senators and our relationship with our community and our fans. Roy has much to be proud of and I am grateful to have worked alongside one of North America’s most accomplished sport executives. I know all of our fans will join me in thanking Roy for his many, many contributions to our community and our Senators organization.”

With Mlakar’s departure, Melnyk is appointing an executive leadership team that will be responsible for the club’s operations and the diverse range of assets managed by Senators Sports & Entertainment.

Melnyk is promoting Cyril Leeder as president of the club and Senators Sports & Entertainment.  Joining Leeder on Melnyk’s executive team will be Erin Crowe, who will serve as executive vice-president and chief financial officer, and Bryan Murray, who will continue as the Senators general manager and will now add executive vice-president duties to his mandate. These appointments will take effect on July 1, 2009.

“I have taken the past four months to further evaluate the long-term objectives and strategic priorities of Senators Sports & Entertainment. Returning the Stanley Cup to Ottawa remains my top priority for Senators Sports & Entertainment, but we will also continue to stay focussed and work very hard at seeking out additional opportunities to invest further in Ottawa,” added Melnyk. “With that in mind, I took a long-term view in making my decisions to establish a core leadership group that will be responsible for managing and more effectively integrating our current business as well as source future opportunities for growth beyond hockey. We are the largest sports and entertainment company in the nation’s capital, making us an integral part of the community and Ottawa’s economy. I want to see Senators Sports & Entertainment play in even bigger role in defining the future of our great city.”

“Cyril Leeder played an historic role in the return of the Senators to Ottawa,” said Melnyk. “Cyril has been with the Senators since that first puck was dropped back in October 1992. After nearly 17 years, during which he spearheaded the construction of Scotiabank Place and brought numerous world-class events to our city, including the Bell Capital Cup and last season’s IIHF world junior championship, there is no one else more deserving of leading the corporate priorities of Senators Sports & Entertainment.”

More on the new  executive leadership team:

Cyril Leeder was instrumental in assembling and leading the city’s expansion submission to the NHL in 1990 that led to Ottawa’s successful return to the league after close to 60 years absence. Leeder has been with the Senators organization since it officially dropped the puck for its first game in September 1992 and was promoted to the role of chief operating officer in 2002. Leeder led all aspects of the design and construction of Scotiabank Place, the Senators 20,000-seat world-class facility. He sits on numerous boards, including the Ottawa Convention Centre and the Sens Foundation and is the founder and chair of the Bell Capital Cup, which is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest ice hockey tournament.

Erin Crowe joined the Senators in 1996 and held increasingly senior financial positions within the organization before being appointed the club’s chief financial officer in August 2003. Crowe is a chartered accountant and serves as chair of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s audit and resources committee. She is also chair of the Roger’s House audit and finance committee.

Bryan Murray joined the Senators in 2004 as the club’s fifth head coach. In 2007, he led the team to its first appearance in a Stanley Cup final series. Murray was appointed general manager in June 2007 and is currently in his 28th consecutive season in the NHL. He has served as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, and spent nine seasons with the Washington Capitals, where he won the Jack Adams Award in 1983-84 as the NHL’s coach of the year.

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