The sale of the Ottawa Senators remains the most interesting reality TV show in sports as yet another celebrity has tossed their hat in the ring for the NHL franchise.
According to Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch, star Canadian recording artist Abel Tesfaye — better known as The Weeknd — has partnered with the Harlo Capital Group, led by Toronto billionaires Jeffrey and Michael Kimel, to bid on the Senators.
Tesfaye, born in Toronto, Ont., reportedly plans to be financially involved with the Kimels’ pitch to acquire the franchise previously owned by the late Eugene Melnyk, who passed away in March 2022. The Kimels were part owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins before Fenway Sports Group bought the team in 2021.
Garrioch also reports The Weeknd has joined the bid because he has ties to Ottawa through his managers and desires to turn his passion for hockey into something great for the community.
“He’s going to be a great partner for Ottawa and the NHL,” a source close to The Weeknd told Garrioch. “The team he works with grew up in Ottawa, so they know the market really well, but he’s the largest musician (on the) planet right now. He has the most views, the most streams and he’s a hockey guy.
“He doesn’t like to be in the media very often so this really says something that he wants to be part of a bid. He wants to get this deal done, he wants to build something that will be great in Ottawa and he’ll be a good fit. He’s got a lot of connections of worldwide.”
The Weeknd, whose initial interest in purchasing the Senators was reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, now finds himself competing against a pair of A-listers for the franchise, including a fellow Canadian icon in Ryan Reynolds and rapper Snoop Dogg.
The latter confirmed he joined Neko Sparks’s group earlier this week, which includes 12 other investors. Reynolds and the Remington Group, meanwhile are reportedly preparing a $1-billion offer to buy the Sens and the Canadian Tire Centre — the team's home arena.
“Ryan Reynolds brought some attention to the team,” the source told Garrioch. “I think when people like The Weeknd, who are Canadian and have local ties to the area, look at sports franchises today, celebrities are trying to get their hands on them whether it’s hockey or any other league.”
Garrioch previously reported the deadline to submit non-binding offers is May 15, which will be the second and final bidding round.
Seven groups — including the three featuring The Weeknd, Snoop Dogg and Ryan Reynolds — remain in the bidding for the Senators.