Hockey is a national pastime in Canada.
Celebrities like actor Ryan Reynolds have expressed interest in purchasing the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Ottawa Senators.
However, he is not the only A-list star to express interest in owning a percentage of the franchise.
Rap icon Snoop Dogg has stated that he wants to partner with Los Angeles entrepreneur Neko Sparks to purchase the hockey team.
Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, sees a Black ownership group as a way to get more Black people interested in the sport of hockey.
Ian Mendes of The Athletic reported, “Sources with knowledge of the Sparks bid—but who are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter—confirmed the iconic hip-hop artist has joined forces with Sparks in an aggressive pursuit of the Ottawa Senators franchise.”
A source said, “(Snoop’s) passionately involved. He’s coming up with ideas. And he’s legitimately excited. He wants this team.”
As of now, no one knows what Snoop’s potential ownership stake will be.
However, sources say the Sparks group are not intimidated by the fact that the sale could surpass $1 billion.
The Long Beach, Calif. raised rapper said, “This is ain’t no joke or no gimmick. Or an image or likeness play. This is a real ownership play. And Snoop will put his foot in the town.”
The Athletic added, “The seeds for Snoop to join the Senators ownership bid were planted earlier this year, when Kevin Barkley, who Snoop refers to as his ‘right-hand man,’ connected with Sparks through some mutual friends. Sparks pitched the idea and the vision for purchasing the Senators to Barkley, who then relayed those details to Snoop. The hip-hop icon loved the idea of the joining this initiative on the ground floor, with the hopes of assembling the most diverse ownership group in the history of the NHL.”
The consortium consists of 12 members.
All members of the group are people of color.
Although hockey is seen by many as a stereotypically White and foreign sports, recent Black stars like PK Subban and Jerome Iginla have found tremendous success in the NHL.
The first Black player in the NHL was Willie O’Ree.
According to The African American Encyclopedia, “O’Ree became the first Black player in the National Hockey League when he joined the Boston Bruins for a two-game trial in 1957. In the 1960-1961 season, O’Ree played in forty-three games, making four goals and ten assists. He then played in the minor leagues for nineteen years, including a seven-year stint with the Los Angeles Blades.”
Although the NHL has enjoyed Black celebrity through the years, Snoop’s involvement adds some star power and swagger to the diverse consortium.
Snoop said, “Once we started talking and building, we formed a plan to partner up and say, ‘Let’s do this together. Let’s join forces and try to get the Ottawa Senators.’ We can make a difference in Ottawa and the NHL.”
He added, “I want Ottawa because Ottawa wants me. It’s a thriving city. The team is going to make a U-turn once we get ownership. The players are inspired. The community is inspired. I felt like this is what Ottawa needs…
“I love the city. Every time I’ve come through the city, they’ve rolled out the red carpet for me. The fans, the city. Everyone. It’s been nothing but love. When you go around the world as much as I have, there are certain places that stick out in your heart. Everywhere I go in Canada, it’s always been love, but there’s something about Ottawa. And the opportunity for the team to be bought? It’s impeccable timing right now.”
A deadline of May 15 has been set for final bids for ownership of the Ottawa Senators.
Reynolds and the Remington Group has made a bid of over $1 billion for the Senators.
Real estate mogul Christopher Bratty is also headlining the Remington Group.
The Senators have hired Galatioto Sports Partners from New York to oversee the purchase.
The Remington Group wants to get the deal done as soon as possible.
The Reynolds and Bratty led group have even offered to build a new arena for the Senators.
The potential owners have considered several locations for a proposed arena.
Some of the proposed locations included areas near downtown Ottawa and the city’s entertainment district.
Also, under considerations includes redeveloping the 75 acres where the Senators’ current home Canadian Tire Centre, which is in the suburb of Kanata.
Reynolds, who is married to actress Blake Lively, also owns Welsh soccer team Wrexham FC with actor Rob McElhenney.
He purchased a stake in the soccer team is 2020.
In December, Reynolds said, “If we progress with the Ottawa Senators, I will be frothy, rabies-infused fan the likes of which the NHL has never seen. There’s not too much I can say about that now, but I have a real connection to Ottawa, to the community of Ottawa.”
Nevertheless, the Ottawa Sun reported that six groups are interested in purchasing the Senators.
The groups include one led by Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.
However, journalist Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported, “The Remington Group has emerged as the frontrunner in this lengthy process, and, at this juncture, it would appear they’ll be likely for anyone to beat…The likes of Toronto-based billionaire Michael Andlauer along with Jeffrey and Michael Kimel of the Harlo Capital Group remain in the race with Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos, but it feels like cachet Reynolds and the Remington Group bring will be tough to overcome.”