Melnyk goes to 'Dogs

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Eugene Melnyk is now the owner of two Ontario Hockey League teams that play in the same division.

The Senators owner has purchased the Mississauga IceDogs from Mario Forgione and NHL defenceman Chris Pronger.

Melnyk plans to eventually flip the team to new owners who will move it out of Mississauga and thus make room in the city's Hershey Centre for his St. Michael's Majors, which currently play in the tiny and aging St. Michael's College School Arena in downtown Toronto.

"This is an interim step, but a step at least for the Majors to move into a great arena," Melnyk told The Fan 590, an all-sports radio station in Toronto.

Melnyk, a St. Mike's alumnus, needed unanimous consent from OHL owners to own two teams at once and got that last month The league did not set a deadline for Melnyk to sell the IceDogs.

"That would be most unfair and unreasonable," OHL commissioner David Branch said yesterday. "It's clearly understood that from a league perspective and Mr. Melnyk's that sooner is clearly better."

BUSINESS CONTROL

"While we will control the business of the Ice Dogs, we will not have anything to do with the on-ice product. Greg Gilbert will still have control of that area," said Senators president Roy Mlakar, who will meet with Gilbert and the rest of the Mississauga coaching staff today.

The rumour is Melnyk paid $9 million for the franchise and that eventually Mississauga will be relocated to Buffalo. If that's the case, there's a possibility that Senators GM John Muckler could be part of the ownership group in Buffalo. That's where he makes his home.

A group in Niagara Falls also has interest in bringing an OHL team back to that city.

"There's a couple of areas that jump out that are going to be considered, upstate New York, the Niagara peninsula, North Bay as an example as well," Branch said.

The Majors will be called the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors once they move into the Hershey Centre.


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