Only one year after taking the reins, Tom Anselmi is stepping aside as president and CEO of the Ottawa Senators.
The move comes just weeks after the National Capital Commission came to an agreement in principle with the Senators-backed RendezVous LeBreton group to redevelop LeBreton Flats, with a new downtown home for the local NHL team as a key part of the deal. NCC chief executive Mark Kristmanson specifically praised Anselmi’s role in the negotiations at last month's meeting.
When his appointment was first announced in January of last year, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said Anelmi’s history as a builder – he spearheaded the construction of the Air Canada Centre and BMO Field in Toronto during his time with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – had a lot to do with giving him the job.
Anselmi replaced Cyril Leeder, who had been president for eight years and had been with the Senators organization since its rebirth in 1992.
The Senators have given no timeline on a potential replacement for Anselmi. The news came at the bottom of a press release on Friday announcing a three-year contract extension for general manager Pierre Dorion. The organization thanked Anselmi for his contributions and wished him the best in his future endeavours, offering no explanation for the departure.
Speaking at the regular Mayor’s Breakfast Series last September, Anselmi seemed to have a long-term vision for the Ottawa Senators. He talked about turning the local team into a “global Canadian brand,” and projected the move to a LeBreton Flats location within five years.
LeBreton Flats aside, under Anselmi’s leadership the organization reduced the number of seats in the Canadian Tire Centre by 1,500, a move he defended as “right-sizing” the team’s current arena. The Sens have notably struggled with drawing fans the past few seasons.