It was great to hear from former Senators President asnd CEO Roy Mlakar this morning, his final day in Ottawa. He and his wife Tammy are off to Lake Tahoe. As you'd expect, the guy who was one of our best listeners and supporters demanded one last yes/no game on his way out. It will go down as the one and only time I endorsed that awful, awful game.
As promised, here is a re-post of the tribute to Roy I did earlier this year.
Roy Mlakar has been removed as President and CEO of the Ottawa Senators, effective June 30th. Senators Sports and Entertainment owner and chairman Eugene Melnyk made the official announcement today. Mlakar will be replaced by three people, which sounds about right, based on Roy's outstanding work ethic and body of work.
Cyril Leeder is the new president of the club along with Senators Sports and Entertainment. Joining Leeder on Melnyk's executive team will be Erin Crowe, who will serve as executive vice-president and chief financial officer, and Bryan Murray, who will continue as the Senators general manager and now add executive vice-president duties to his mandate.
Ram had to be a frustrated guy these last two seasons. After the Sens went to the 2007 Cup final, Melnyk rewarded GM John Muckler by firing him shortly after the playoffs. I'm certain that's a first for a cup finalist. Then he watched as Murray took over from Muckler, one of Mlakar's best friends. Under Murray, the Sens enter this summer with a superstar demanding out, three head coaches on the payroll and two terrible seasons in the rear view mirror. For this, Melnyk rewarded Murray with a promotion today.
This was not about performance. If it were, Mlakar would still be president. Mlakar took over a Senator franchise that was a mess. The team was 28th in NHL attendance and revenues and Mlakar helped it blossom to 6th place. This year was the first time under Mlakar the Sens had missed the playoffs. He helped build Roger's House, Candlelighters, helped save the 65 Roses sports club, was the United Way "Builder of the Year", the first ever "Brian Kilrea" award winner and was Ottawa Business news CEO of the year just 8 months ago.
Some participate in charity because of the goodwill it creates for a business. For Roy, it was always more than that. I've always most appreciated the acts of kindness that are exhibited when no one's looking. Roy did those all the time. I will always be fond of Roy for never shying away from discussions about my autistic son, as the majority of people do. "How's Michael doing?" was always the question he'd ask after a big smile and handshake. He was always genuinely interested in the answer and, as a big listener to our show, loved hearing about my adventures in autism segments.
No, this wasn't about performance. It was about personality and chemistry. This was about an owner who felt more comfortable with the duo of Leeder and Murray over Mlakar and Muckler. That's how it goes sometimes.
Roy is a good man and a good friend. He and his wife Tammy leave an outstanding legacy in this town. They did it right, they will quickly find greener pastures and they will be missed.