NHL: Pierre Dorion pays emotional tribute to controversial Eugene Melnyk

NHL: Pierre Dorion pays emotional tribute to controversial Eugene Melnyk

PALM BEACH – Pierre Dorion struggled to hold back tears on Tuesday as he commented on the passing of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. Far from being unanimous, Melnyk will still have saved this organization.

Melnyk, who died at age 62 from a battle with illness, has caused many headaches for the NHL and the city of Ottawa in recent years. But, we understand, Dorion wanted to recall his important contribution.

“He is a human who has given a lot. It was he who provided stability to the Senators. Without him, the Senators wouldn’t be in Ottawa,” boasted Dorion with watery eyes.

“He had a huge passion for hockey, he loved discussing it whether it was the Senators or another team,” added Dorion, having to take a break.

What saddens Dorion the most is that he would have liked so much to offer Melnyk the gift of seeing his team aspire to the championship before he breathes his last.

“He was very important to many people, he made a commitment to the City of Ottawa to build a champion team.

“One of the saddest things is that he won’t be able to see the end result of the work we do. We all did it together,” commented Dorion with disappointment.

The next few months will allow us to learn more about the sequel as the Senators’ amphitheater remains an issue. The future of the Senators will be determined with the succession of Melnyk who was the father of two daughters.

In front of the media, Dorion wanted to take a few seconds to go there with this precision.

“Many of you don’t know what a wonderful man he was, how much he cared about the Senators and the city,” Dorion said as Melnyk’s reputation took a beating over the years.

Dorion had to deal with Melnyk’s particular approach. In his job as general manager, he often had to give up excellent players who had become too expensive in addition to juggling a reduced payroll.

The fact remains that Melnyk is the one who propelled Dorion to the position of general manager in 2016-2017.

“On a personal level, I am so grateful to him. He gave me the opportunity to become CEO and it is a privileged position. I want to promise Ottawa fans that we’re going to give them a Stanley Cup one day,” said Dorion as the rebuilding of his club continues around promising youngsters like Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle, Josh Norris and Jake Sanderson.

Two entertaining anecdotes

Smiling somewhat, Dorion agreed to share two anecdotes about Melnyk.

“When we got our two first-round picks (in 2020), obviously we wanted it to be picks one and two. But (as a result of the lottery) it was more like choices three and five. He knows how much I like red wine and he came to see me. He saw the disappointment on my face, I told him it would be okay and we were going to have two good players. He gave me a bottle of wine, worth a few thousand dollars, it was a wonderful gift from him,” Dorion said as the Sens drafted Stützle and Sanderson.

“Once, we traveled together to Belleville. Peter MacTavish, the Deputy CEO was also with us. On the way back, we had a puncture and it was around -40 with the wind. I was trying to change the tire and he was like ‘You can’t do that, you’re too important, you’re the one building the team’. Meanwhile, Peter was trying to push me in front of the cars instead… Eugene cared about our whole family. We started something together and we are going to finish it, ”said the DG.

Dorion has found the perfect way to end his tribute to Melnyk.

“At least he’s now reunited with Bryan Murray (who was associated with the Senators for a dozen years). Together, they will analyze each transaction and each draft selection. »

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