Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds confirms interest in buying Ottawa Senators

The rumours are true, Ryan Reynolds wants to buy the Ottawa Senators.

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon asked Reynolds directly if the Canadian movie star was interested in purchasing the NHL club. Reynolds was firm in his response on Monday night.

"Yes, that is true," said Reynolds, who is already co-owner of the Welsh soccer club Wrexham with fellow actor Rob McElhenney. "I am trying to do that. It's very expensive.”

Added Reynolds with a laugh: "I need a partner with really deep pockets."

Forbes magazine valued the Senators at US$525 million in December 2021, about four months before former owner Eugene Melnyk died.

Within months of Melnyk's death the Senators were once again the preferred partner for a proposed arena project to build in Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats area, likely increasing the team's value. The Senators previously looked at moving to LeBreton Flats, but the plan fell apart with Melnyk and his business partners suing each other.

The Melnyk estate has made it clear that the team will only be sold if the purchaser agrees to keep the team in Ottawa.

The star of the "Deadpool" series of films addressed both the expense of buying an NHL team and keeping the team in Canada's capital in his interview with Fallon.

Reynolds said he would have to be the face of a consortium to buy the Senators, which he said is "a fancy way of saying I need a sugar mommy or a sugar daddy." Although he is from Vancouver, Reynolds also spoke of his fondness for the National Capital Region.

"I love Ottawa. I grew up in Vancouver, which has my heart always, but I also grew up in Ottawa," said Reynolds. "I spent a long time in Vanier which is a little town right inside Ottawa."

As part of visits to NHL cities, league commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly met with the Winnipeg media before Tuesday's Jets game against the Dallas Stars.

Bettman said he was aware of Reynolds' recent comments.

“He was quite articulate on the Tonight Show last night with Jimmy Fallon that he'd be very interested and he needs either a sugar mommy or a sugar daddy with a lot of money to help him,” Bettman said with a smile.

“I think those were his exact words that I’m quoting. Listen, anything that engages the fan base, that brings a lot of attention to the franchise and the team is a plus. He’s a very popular and well-respected person.”

Bettman said his office is kept in the loop about the Senators' situation at the current stage and when any negotiations would get underway.

“The process is being run by an investment banking firm that has been retained for that purpose,” Bettman said. “We are kept abreast. Obviously, we have to vet people who may be interested when they get to that.

“The formal process hasn’t begun yet and it will. One thing that's been made perfectly clear … is the club has made perfectly clear that any sale will be dependent on the club staying in Ottawa, and hopefully moving downtown to LeBreton Flats.”

Melnyk purchased the Senators in 2003 for US$92 million at a time when the franchise faced bankruptcy and a tenuous future in the nation’s capital.

The team’s day-to-day operations has been handled by the board of directors since Melnyk’s death.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

The Canadian Press