Less than a month after unsuccessfully lobbying councillors to give his boss the chance to bid on a new casino, the president of the Ottawa Senators has stepped down from several economic development roles connected to the City of Ottawa.
© File photo
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
Cyril Leeder will no longer be a part of the group, which includes Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and two city councillors, that is planning the city's celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017 – a tourism initiative in which Mr. Watson has invested significant energy.
Mr. Leeder informed the city of his intention to no longer serve on the committee last week, according to a letter Mr. Watson wrote back on Monday and then released to reporters.
He will also no longer be a member of the board of the Ottawa Convention Centre and on committees with Ottawa Tourism, according to media reports.
That means one of the key connections between the Senators and wider economic development initiatives in the city has now been severed.
Attempts on Monday evening to reach Mr. Leeder for comment, through a Senators' spokesman, were unsuccessful.
His resignation comes as his boss, Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk, continues to consider legal action against the city over what he considers to be an unfair process for managing the development of a new casino.
City councillors voted in August to only approve a new casino if the province's gambling body, the Ontario and Lottery and Gaming Corp., decides to put it at the Rideau Carleton Raceway southeast of downtown.
That effectively denied Mr. Melnyk the chance to bid to have the facility close to the Senators' arena in Kanata. He wanted to construct it there to help him diversify his revenues and make up for what he said are regular losses for the National Hockey League team.
Mr.Watson, in the letter dated Monday, thanked Mr. Leeder for "being a valued member and contributor to all of the community-building embodied by such volunteer organisations."
"There is no doubt that you will be missed by all involved," Mr. Watson wrote. "However, I understand entirely that your core business responsibilities for the Ottawa Senators and Senators Sports & Entertainment must take precedence for you at this time."
It's still unclear what the impact will be on other partnerships between the two groups.
The Senators and the city work together on several other tourism initiatives, including on major sporting events such as the IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship held last April.
Those partnerships give the team a chance to fill the Canadian Tire Centre when there is little else going on with the municipality providing public backing through measures such as special bus service as a means of driving tourists to the city.
See also: The man behind Ottawa’s events engine.