September 16, 2008

After officially handing in his bid for an MLS expansion franchise in 2011, Eugene Melnyk, owner of the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators, gave his plans a little more shape at a news conference on Tuesday.

The centerpiece of the bid is a 30,000-seat stadium -- with natural grass -- to be situated next to Scotiabank Place, the hockey arena also owned by Melnyk.

"The stadium is a focal point to bringing Major League Soccer to our city," Melnyk said. "Every world-class city has a world-class outdoor stadium." The stadium would be a multi-purpose venue, capable of hosting concerts, festivals and other events.

"The stadium is a major investment in our community so we want it to be a multi-purpose entertainment facility. Ottawa is Canada's capital and the second-largest city in Ontario. Our community needs and deserves a world-class stadium."

The plan does not mean that the stadium is a done deal. The project, Melnyk said, will need community support and collaboration between the private and public sector. But, Melnyk said, soccer, as it did so successfully in Toronto, can bring it all together.

"Soccer is a sport with a global reach and presence," Melnyk continued. "It is a sport steeped in culture and tradition, with a unique ability to connect fans from around the world. We want to bring the world's game to Ottawa and there is no better way to do that than to become part of Major League Soccer." --

You May Like