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Group led by Sens reaches deal to build arena at LeBreton Flats

The National Capital Commission made the announcement during a board meeting on Thursday, June 23. 
Sens arena 2
A rendering of a new Ottawa Senators arena in Lebreton Flats.
The National Capital Commission (NCC) announced that it has reached a memorandum of understanding with Capital Sports Development Incorporated (CSDI), a group led by the Ottawa Senators, to build a new arena at LeBreton Flats.
 
The NCC made the announcement during a board meeting on Thursday, June 23. 
 
"This is another important step in the implementation of our Building LeBreton plan, the start of an incredibly exciting and transformative city building project that will become a landmark and major destination in the National Capital Region," said Tobi Nussbaum, the chief executive officer of the NCC. "We look forward to working with the team at CSDI to bring this major event centre to life."
 
CSDI is proposing to build a hockey arena and an events venue surrounded by mixed-use development, located on Albert Street between Preston Street and City Centre Avenue.
 
This site was identified for a potential major facility in the 2021 LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan, reflecting the feedback of the more than 5,000 people who participated in public consultations during the creation of the Master Concept Plan.

“Today’s announcement marks a significant move toward our long-term vision, a downtown arena at LeBreton Flats," Senators president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc said. "We believe that this development will have a major impact on both the National Capital Region and our franchise, one that will help to shape the future of the city. We thank the NCC for their collaboration, and look forward to working alongside them as we take the next steps on this exciting journey.”

The Senators have played at the Canadian Tire Centre, which opened as the Palladium in Kanata, since 1996.
 
The goal is to sign a lease agreement for the site by the fall of 2023. CSDI will also work with the City of Ottawa to secure the required municipal approvals.
 
"It's a really great day for the city of Ottawa and the people of Ottawa," said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. "I think they have waited a long time for this. This, I believe, will help ticket sales and sponsorships for the team because more people will be able to go."
 
Ottawa Senators founder and former owner Bruce Firestone told The Sam Laprade Show on Thursday, June 23 that it will be a dream come true to see a downtown arena for the Ottawa Senators. 
 
Firestone recalled a time when he asked to have an arena built at LeBreton Flats, but was turned down before one was eventually built for the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa's west end. 
 
"This is a great step forward," he said. "The NCC has come a long way since we last talked about an arena downtown. I think the NCC realized that the development at LeBreton Flats has been modest and you need to bring something there to animate the site and I think the NCC has come around to that."
 
Stephen MacDonald, an Ottawa Senators fan and one of the co-organizers of the 'Alfie To The Hall' social media campaign, told The Sam Laprade Show on Thursday, June 23 that the recent announcement regarding a downtown arena is an exciting time for Canada's capital and the fan base of the Ottawa Senators. 
 
He added that a new arena downtown means a new chapter in the story of the Ottawa Senators organization. 
 
"We have heard this before, but this time it feels different," he said. 
 
Kevin McHale, the executive director of the Sparks Street Business Improvement Area, told The Sam Laprade Show on Friday, June 24 that a new event centre downtown means more people will be inclined to stay in the core and go for food and drinks and exploring the area. 
 
"This is exciting news after a tough couple of years in the core," he said. 
 
Listen to the interview with Bruce Firestone and Stephen MacDonald below:
 
 
Listen to the full interview with Kevin McHale below:
 
 
 

 





About the Author: Anil Jhalli

Anil Jhalli is CityNews Ottawa's digital editor
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