Looking to put the ugly Jim Little saga in their rearview, the Ottawa Senators have hired Anthony LeBlanc to take over his duties.
The team announced, today, that they’ve named LeBlanc their new President of Business Operations. While this is obviously not the same position as Little held, that being CEO, the Senators offered a description of what the incoming executive’s duties will entail:
A longtime Ottawa resident and experienced NHL executive, LeBlanc will fill a necessary and vital business and revenue role in the Ottawa Senators’ front office. He will be instrumental in helping create circumstances for the Ottawa Senators to return to full operational capacity when it is safe to welcome back our valued fans, community partners and employees.
Leblanc, who is leaving the CFL’s Halifax expansion group to take on the role, had this to say about joining the organization:
“I am thrilled to be appointed to the position of President of Business Operations with the Senators. Having been a diehard Senators fan since the Sens rejoined the league, this opportunity is truly an honour. I look forward to working closely with the entire staff as we prepare for an exciting chapter in the history of the Senators. I am confident that my experience in the NHL, as well as my sales and marketing background in the technology sector, will be put to good use here in the National Capital Region,” said LeBlanc.
With over two decades of executive experience to his name, it appears that there is a lot that Anthony Leblanc can bring to the table. He worked at Research in Motion (RIM)/BlackBerry from 2000 to 2008, including a stint as their Vice President of Global Sales. Unlike his predecessor, Leblanc also has experience within the NHL, having served as President, Chief Executive Officer, Co-owner and Alternate Governor of the Arizona Coyotes from 2013-2017.
While we can debate LeBlanc’s merits, it’s worth mentioning that he was with Blackberry during the peak of their success. The Arizona Coyotes may well be a different story, but there hasn’t been anyone able to get that franchise on solid ground since its inception. Bringing a lifelong Sens fan into the fold could also turn out to be a huge organizational boost, as the franchise desperately needs to reconnect with its fans. The perspective that Leblanc could potentially bring may be instrumental to any future success on the business side.
The Senators’ recent history of executives is rather bleak, to say the least. Tom Anselmi, Nicolas Ruszkowski, and Jim Little all had increasingly brief stints with the organization, so if the team can hang on to LeBlanc, it could serve as a sign of better things to come.
We’ll have to wait and see.