Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation endorses Sparks’ bid for Ottawa Senators

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A Quebec First Nation community has confirmed it is endorsing one of the bidders involved in the sale of the Ottawa Senators.

Chief Dylan Whiteduck of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation said in a statement released Wednesday evening that while multiple bidders for the NHL franchise reached out, none were more proactive than the lead investors behind Los Angeles-based businessman Neko Sparks’ group.

The statement says the opportunity represents a generational opportunity to secure meaningful economic, social and cultural reconciliation, and the First Nation says it has signed a non-disclosure agreement to determine the scale and structure of the investment with the community.

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The community said in a statement that while further consultation was necessary, the chief and council wanted to address the speculation about Indigenous involvement in the Ottawa Senators sale process.

On Monday, rapper Snoop Dogg, who is part of the Sparks bid, alluded to reports that a First Nations group would have an equity stake, without naming a specific nation.

The Algonquins of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg have a land claim on LeBreton Flats, where the hockey team intends to build a new arena.

The board of directors of Senators Sports & Entertainment initiated the process to sell the team last November after the death of owner Eugene Melnyk earlier that year. Melnyk left the franchise to his daughters, Anna and Olivia.

Final bids were submitted on Monday.

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