OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators (@Senators) in partnership with the City of Belleville (@BellevilleON) announced today that Senators owner, governor and chief executive officer Eugene Melnyk (@MelnykEugene) has purchased the American Hockey League franchise currently residing in Binghamton, N.Y. and will move it to Belleville, Ont. for the start of the 2017-18 AHL season.
The Ottawa Senators and the City of Belleville have also agreed on an eight-year agreement to welcome the newly minted Belleville Senators to the city.
In order to properly accommodate a new professional AHL team, the City of Belleville will immediately undertake more than $18.5 million in important renovations to modernize Belleville's Yardmen Arena and prepare it for professional hockey for the first time in the city's history. The renovations will also help bring the Yardmen Arena to an equivalent standard as the adjoining Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre which includes Belleville's three additional community ice pads.
In addition, the Belleville Senators today announced the launch of a major ticket drive which will see fans access season seats on a first come, first serve basis. Details pertaining to this ticket drive are available at www.bellevillesens.com.
"Our city has a long a storied history with junior hockey but today we welcome professional hockey to Belleville and our soon to be renovated Yardmen Arena," said Mayor Taso Christopher. "Our city not only gets an AHL team but an incredible working partnership with the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators and its long time owner Eugene Melnyk. Geographically, our relative proximity to the nation's capital makes this a tremendously exciting partnership that will undoubtedly bring our cities and our hockey fans together, United in Red."
"Hockey is back in Belleville. The people of Belleville are a deeply passionate and proud hockey community," said Ottawa Senators and Belleville Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. "This community has truly earned the return of hockey and I am committed to making the Belleville Senators an integral part of the city. I want to personally thank the Mayor, Councillors and City staff for their hard work in helping bring the Senators to Belleville. This is the dawn of new era of hockey in Belleville and we are excited to be part of it."
The Belleville Senators will bring professional hockey to the city for the first time. Belleville last had hockey at the Yardmen Arena when the Ontario Hockey League's Belleville Bulls played there from 1981 to 2015. Ottawa's AHL affiliate has resided in Binghamton, N.Y., since the 2002-03 AHL season and won the League championship, the Calder Cup, at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season.
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