March 29 (UPI) — Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Ottawa Senator, died of illness, the NHL franchise said. He is 62 years old.
That Senator said Melnyk died on Monday, but did not specify what illness he was struggling with.
“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of owner Ottawa Senator Eugene Melnyk,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a news release.
“The words ‘passion’ and ‘commitment’ define a person who has had an Ottawa Senator since 2003.
“Whether it’s in the boardroom with his fellow governors, in the arena with his beloved Senator or in the community with philanthropy, he cares deeply about the game, about his team and about improving the lives of those in need, especially underserved children, organ donation and, most recently, with his commitment to his parents’ country of origin in Ukraine.”
Melnyk was born May 27, 1959, in Toronto to Ukrainian parents. He later served as founder and chairman of Biovail Corp., which was once Canada’s largest pharmaceutical company.
He has also served as chairman of Neurolign, a medical device company, and for the Clean Beauty Collective, a manufacturer of ethically sourced products.
Melnyk previously had Senators Belleville from the American Hockey League and Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League.
He is also an honorary colonel of the Canadian Armed Forces and a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
In 2003, Melnyk founded Capital Sports & Entertainment, the group that owns and operates Senators.
“A loving father to Anna and Olivia, Eugene was a devoted son to Vera and the late Dr. Ferdinand Melnyk, a caring brother to Lydia and a loving companion to Sharlyne,” the Senators said.
“The entrepreneur, sports franchise owner and philanthropist passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and will be fondly remembered by his many friends and associates.”
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