Though he may still be the owner, much to a good percentage of the fanbase’s chagrin, Eugene Melnyk is no longer the CEO of the Ottawa Senators.
TSN’s Ian Mendes first broke the news this morning, that the organization has named Jim Little as their Chief Executive Officer.
The Ottawa Senators have just named Jim Little as their new CEO.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) January 10, 2020
He's got a background in communications/marketing/PR -- and was most recently an executive VP with Shaw Communications.
As Mendes stated, Little is a former executive with Shaw Communications, having left the company in May of 2018. A graduate of McGill University, the 55 year-old is also the former Chief Brand Officer of the Royal Bank of Canada. A further outline of Little’s history can be found in the team’s official press release, along with a statement from Eugene Melnyk:
“We are pleased to have Jim joining our executive team during this exciting period of growth for Senators Sports and Entertainment,” said Melnyk. “As part of our long-term strategy to redevelop and rebuild the Ottawa Senators hockey club, an extensive search was conducted to find the right leader to guide the organization into the next decade. Jim’s appointment is an important step towards achieving our goals and building on the positive impact the hockey club has on the community. As our planned rebuild of the Senators continues to develop on the ice, Jim’s wealth of experience and fresh perspective will strengthen the company’s off-ice success, ushering in a new era for our club and fans.”
An interesting note is Little’s focus on “marketing and strengthening community relations”. These are areas in which the Senators have struggled over the years, as they try to repair the damage done to fan confidence in the organization.
Melnyk has held the role of CEO since Tom Anselmi’s resignation in February of 2018. The Senators have had a tumultuous relationship with their executives over the past couple of years, with COO Nicolas Ruszkowski also stepping down last summer, and the team’s search for a President of Hockey Operations seemingly bearing no fruit.
With rumours of a sale still persisting, hopefully this is the beginning of Melnyk’s drawn-out departure from the team. If not, then it will be interesting to monitor the situation in the front office. With both Anselmi, and Ruszkowski having only stayed for a cup of coffee with the team, one has to wonder if Little can bring some stability to the Senators’ brass.
The Sens are in action tonight, taking on the Detroit Red Wings in Motown.