Eugene Melnyk, Ottawa Senators owner, died on Monday, the team announced. He was 62. The team said Melnyk was battling an illness at the time of his death. He became the Senators' owner in 2003 when he bought the NHL franchise for $92 million.
"Loving father to Anna and Olivia, Eugene was a devoted son to Vera and the late Dr. Ferdinand Melnyk, a caring brother to Lydia and a loving companion to Sharilyne," the Senators said in a statement. "The businessman, sports franchise owner and philanthropist died peacefully surrounded by his family and will be fondly remembered by his many friends and associates."
It is with great sadness that the family of Eugene Melnyk and the Ottawa Senators hockey organization announce his passing on March 28, 2022 after an illness he faced with determination and courage. https://t.co/MrHsTvu7sz pic.twitter.com/DOZrJcD26e— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 29, 2022
During Melnyk's run with the Senators, the team reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007. They also won their division one year prior. Melnyk, a Toronto native, was involved with other businesses around Canada and had an estimated net worth of $1.21 billion in 2010, according to ESPN. "The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk,'' NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "The words 'passion' and `commitment' define the man who has owned the Ottawa Senators since 2003.
"While successful in business, it was our game and his Senators that he was most passionate about. Eugene was often outspoken but he maintained an unwavering commitment to the game and his roots and he loved nothing more than donning a Senators sweater and cheering on his beloved team. On behalf of the entire National Hockey League, I extend my deepest sympathies to Eugene's daughters, Anna and Olivia, his extended family, and all those who benefited from his generosity.''
Melnyk was also the owner of the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League and previously the Toronto St. Michael's Majors of the Ontario Hockey League. Outside of hockey, Melnyk was the founder and former chairman of Biovail Corp. He was also chairman and chief executive of Neurolign, a medical device company and chairman of Clean Beauty Collective, a boutique company that produces ethically sourced products.
Additionally, Melnyk was a successful horse breeder as he was named Canada's Outstanding owner twice. His horses won the Canadian Triple Crown, the Travers Stakes and the Gold Cup. Senators captain Brady Tkachuk said in a tweet: "Mr. Melnyk provided me, my teammates, and many Sens players who came before us with an opportunity to live out our dream. The Ottawa community will miss you greatly. Condolences to your family.''