Another Reason To Look At The Books

It's been two weeks since the esteemed HockeyCentral panel re-ignited their own latent Sens sale speculation, (which it should be said was promptly denied). Ottawa wasn't named, but anyone could deduce which Ontario-based club they were talking about. Many people (and this site) took that information as to imply the team was either for sale or looking to bring in additional investors.

I think there's a third possibility which seems as, if not more likely…

Like Melnyk, Francesco Aquilini is another Canadian NHL owner with an unresolved divorce – which may be instructive. In a story from August detailing Mr. Aquilini's successful move to have the courts seal his financial records; exists this noteworthy rationale:

"He also claimed the divorce proceedings require a valuation of his interest in corporations, partnerships and trusts that are owned and controlled by his family."

Days ago on October 31, there was a judgement in the case of Aquilini v. Aquiini, setting out with regards to a valuation of the Vancouver Canucks/Rogers Arena; both parties would be free to rely on seperate financial experts:

"[57]     I therefore exercise the court’s jurisdiction under Family Rule, R. 13-4(3)(a) to appoint Mr. Mynett as a joint expert for the purpose of providing an opinion on the overall value of the Aquilini family partnerships, corporations trusts and other entities (other than the Vancouver Canucks hockey team and Rogers Arena) in which the respondent has or may have an interest. To the extent any report Mr. Mynett has prepared or will prepare deals with that overall valuation, it must be produced immediately or upon completion to counsel for the respondent."

Now compared to the Vancouver media the coverage of Melnyk's divorce has been scarce. As far as I can tell this story from Glen MacGregor in the Citizen dated December 1, 2010 is the last reporting on the subject:

"Prior to the issuance of the sealing order, the Ottawa Citizen obtained documents in the file and called his spokesman for comment. In response, The Citizen received an e-mail from Mr. Melynk's Toronto lawyer, Kent Thompson, warning of possible legal action.

"I expect that this would involve, among other things, the initiation of contempt proceedings against the Citizen as well as against any employee or representative of the Citizen that plays a role in the preparation or dissemination of the publication in question," he wrote."

I'm no lawyer but I fail to see how a publication ban issued by a Barbados court would apply to a journalist in Canada. The dean of law at the University of Saskatchewan seems to agree with my un-educated opinion. (any lawyers reading this set me straight in the comments if I've got this wrong)
 
Regardless, the most important thing to take away here is a) having the team's financials looked over does not neccessarily mean the team is for sale and b) a valuation of the Senators and Scotiabank Place seems a very likely requirement in Melnyk's divorce proceedings.
 
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