Bettman: ‘Somewhere around six’ serious bidders for Senators sale

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Visiting Ottawa on Monday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned that there are “somewhere around six” serious bidders for the Senators.

“Let’s say that this is among the most vibrant processes I’ve ever seen,” Bettman said during a press conference ahead of the Senators’ game against the Florida Panthers. “I think that’s a testament to this market, the great fan base, the support the team gets from the community, how the team’s being run, and frankly the state of our game, which has never been healthier and stronger.”

Earlier on Monday, Bettman along with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, met with Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe and the National Capital Commission. Bettman added that his meeting was “an opportunity to get acquainted and to make sure that the lines of communication are open.”

While there is noted interest for the downtown Lebreton Flats area, Bettman also stated that other downtown options are available.

“What I do know is that there are options downtown and that’s always a good thing to have,” Bettman said. “Even if the team wants to go to Lebreton, knowing that there are options will make going wherever they go easier.”

Bettman also stressed that he was “consulting with the process” and that banker Sal Galatioto is the one leading the bidding process. He added that if the process takes longer than the six-to-eight weeks initially stated, it would be fine by the NHL.

“We’re not on the clock, the goal is to get it right,” Bettman said. “And if it takes a little longer, it takes a little longer. This wave is more in person, due Diligence, bricks and mortar. People come in to tour the building looking at the market and the community meeting with management.

“And so it may go faster, it may go a little longer. This isn’t a race. This is about doing it the right way.”

When asked about Ryan Reynolds’ potential bid, Bettman wished the Hollywood actor and entrepreneur good luck in the process.

“Ryan believed it was important to connect with a bidder that he believed would be a good match for him,” Bettman said. “I respect his view of the process. He wants to take it from beginning to end.”

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