Senators tap Ottawa lawyer as new assistant general manager


Clearly in a rebuilding mode on the ice following last week’s blockbuster trade of star defenceman Erik Karlsson, the Ottawa Senators also continued their front office overhaul Monday, hiring a veteran lawyer to fill a key executive post.

The NHL club announced it has named Peter MacTavish as the team’s new assistant general manager. MacTavish replaces Randy Lee, who resigned last month.

The Senators said in a statement that MacTavish's focus will include contracts, salary arbitration and managerial support of hockey operations, both in Ottawa and with the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League.

The 44-year-old lawyer joins the club following a stint as a labour and employment partner in the Ottawa office of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. MacTavish has also worked with CAA Hockey, where he assisted with player recruitment, player management and contract negotiations. He will begin with the Senators on Oct. 1.

Lee resigned last month after 23 years with the team amid harassment allegations made by a 19-year-old hotel shuttle driver stemming from an incident at the NHL's pre-draft scouting combine.

Lee, 56, was arrested and charged May 31 after prosecutors say he continued placing his hands on the man's shoulders even after being told to stop. He also allegedly made a reference to his genitalia.

Lee has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer is seeking to have the charges dismissed. Lee was suspended by the team two weeks after the alleged incident before resigning on Aug. 21.

MacTavish’s hiring marks the latest new addition to a Senators’ executive corps that has undergone significant turnover in the past 18 months.

Former president and CEO Tom Anselmi, who himself replaced longtime chief Cyril Leeder in 2017, left the organization in February. Owner Eugene Melnyk has assumed the CEO role in the meantime.

In June the Sens added veteran communications manager Nicolas Ruszkowski as their first-ever chief operations officer. Last month, the organization hired Aimee Deziel as its chief marketing officer.

Additionally, the team’s former chief financial officer – Stephen Brooks, a former Toronto Blue Jays executive – left the team last August, according to his LinkedIn profile, after only a year on the job. His predecessor, Ken Taylor, spent less than two years with the team.

– With files from OBJ staff