Canadian billionaire Michael Andlauer has completed his takeover of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Ottawa Senators.

The deal was unanimously approved by the NHL’s board of governors yesterday (September 21) and sees Andlauer and his group of investors secure 90% of the Canadian team, while former owners Anna and Olivia Melnyk will retain a 10% interest.

The Senators said Andlauer will assume control of the teams’ operations effective immediately. The franchise has not made the playoffs since 2017.

The approval comes three months after Andlauer reached an agreement to acquire the team for nearly a reported $950 million – a new record for an NHL franchise sale, topping the $900 million paid by Fenway Sports Group in 2021 for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Several of Andlauer’s partners in the deal include Jeff York, Andauler’s partner in Ottawa grocery chain Farm Boy and Sobey’s, and the Malhotra family, owners of Ottawa real estate developer Claridge Homes.

As part of the acquisition, Andlauer has also been approved by the American Hockey League’s board of directors to take ownership of the Belleville Senators, Ottawa’s AHL affiliate.

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In a statement, Andlauer said: “The Ottawa Senators Hockey Club is an amazing operation, from the players to the staff, to the most passionate fan base in the game. My family and I are thrilled to officially be part of Ottawa’s team and the Ottawa-Gatineau community.

“Thank you to the NHL and the Melnyk family for the opportunity to make this a reality and entrusting me to steward this remarkable franchise into the future. Thank you to my equity partners and advisors on the transaction, who like me are aligned and committed to bringing on and off-ice success to the National Capital Region.”

The Senators were initially put up for sale last November, eight months after the team’s owner Eugene Melnyk died. He had owned the team since 2003 when he bought them for $92 million.

Ownership passed to his daughters Anna and Olivia who hired New York-based firm Galatioto Sports Partners (GSP) to handle the sale.

One of seven NHL franchises based in Canada, the Ottawa Senators returned to the league in 1992 following a 58-year absence. Since then, the team has won four titles in the Northeast Division and a Presidents' Trophy in 2002-03.

Andlauer is the chief executive and founder of healthcare supply chain management company Andlauer Healthcare Group and founder of Bulldog Capital Partners, the Toronto-based merchant bank focusing on private equity investments.

He has been involved with ice hockey for decades, starting as the co-owner of the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs in 2003, before becoming the franchise’s majority owner in 2004.

In 2015, Andlauer sold the Hamilton Bulldogs to the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and acquired the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls. He then relocated the Bulls to Hamilton where they won the OHL Championship in 2018 and 2022.

He also purchased a share of the Canadiens in 2009 and has served as the team’s alternate governor since the purchase. He will have to sell his stake in the team now that he is the majority owner of the Senators due to NHL rules.

It has been reported that Andlauer is in the process of selling his share to fellow Canadiens co-owner Geoff Molson.