It was exactly one year ago – on a chilly Friday night in mid-December – when Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s frosty words plunged his relationship with the fan base into a deeper freeze.
Speaking to reporters just prior to his club hosting an outdoor alumni game on Parliament Hill on Dec. 15, 2017, Melnyk seemed to steal a lot of thunder from a marquee NHL event by openly musing about moving his franchise.
“I love the game of hockey. If it doesn’t look good here, it could look good somewhere else. But I’m not suggesting that right now. What I’m saying is, I would never sell the team,” Melnyk said.
When pressed on if he would sell the team, Melnyk laid out some scenarios where he could envision it happening.
“If it becomes a disaster? Yes. If you start not seeing crowds showing up? Yes.”
The comments made by Melnyk that day – coincidental or not – kick-started one of the most bizarre 12-month periods any North American sports franchise has had in recent memory.
For many Sens fans, the last 365 days has been the most forgettable and frustrating period in franchise history, filled with scandalous storylines that had little to do with the on-ice product.
So, as 2018 mercifully draws to a close for the Senators and their fans, it’s worth looking back one more time at just how bizarre the past calendar year has been in the nation’s capital.