Eugene Melnyk

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Eugene Melnyk
Born (1959-05-27) May 27, 1959 (age 60)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationBusinessman, sports franchise owner
Known forFounder Biovail Corporation, Owner Ottawa Senators, Philanthropist
Net worth$1.21 billion (2017)
Board member ofOttawa Senators, Advisory Council of Ukrainian Canadian Congress
AwardsOrder of St. Michael (2008)[1]

Eugene Melnyk (born May 27, 1959) is a Canadian[2][3][4] businessman who has resided in Barbados since February 1991. He is the current and sole owner, governor, and chairman of the Ottawa Senators professional ice hockey franchise of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is the founder, former chairman, and CEO of Biovail Corporation which was acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Canadian Business magazine ranked Melnyk 79th with a net worth of $1.21 billion on its 2017 list of Canada's 100 wealthiest people.[5] He is also one of the richest residents of Barbados[6][7] and has been referred to as the "Worst Sports Franchise Owner in North America".[8]


Melnyk was born in Toronto, Ontario, on May 27, 1959, and is of Ukrainian heritage.[3][4] He has resided in Barbados, a noted tax haven, since 1991.[8][9]

In 2015, Melnyk underwent a liver transplant at a hospital in Toronto. Given his status as a permanent resident of Barbados, questions were raised regarding eligibility rules, as the Ontario Health Insurance Plan requires patients to make their primary residence in Ontario and spend at least 153 days in any one-year period to maintain their coverage. Some observers questioned how Melnyk, a permanent resident of a foreign country, could be eligible to receive the transplant. Citing privacy laws, the hospital would not discuss personal health information beyond discussing the transplant and the patient's recovery.[10]

Business career[edit]

In 1982, Melnyk founded medical publishing company Trimel Corporation, which was sold to Thomson Publications (part of The Thomson Corporation) in 1989. Melnyk then founded Biovail Corporation, a specialty pharmaceutical company, in 1989. During his time as chairman and CEO of Biovail, revenues grew from $19 million in 1995 to $1.067 billion in 2006. One of Biovail's strategies was to look for drugs with expired patents, then reinvent them with the company's proprietary technologies. One example was producing drugs that had controlled-release features that let patients take the drug once a day instead of several times.[11]

In 2003, at approximately the same time as he purchased the Ottawa Senators, Melnyk erroneously told investors that a drug shipment destroyed in a truck accident was responsible for a revenue shortfall. This situation led to a hearing with the Ontario Securities Commission, who administer and enforce securities legislation in the province. A legal representative for Biovail claimed that Melnyk "unknowingly" divulged this misleading and "somewhat imperfect" information. He insisted regulators were basing their entire case against Melnyk on portions of evidence taken out of context.[12]

Melnyk left Biovail on June 30, 2007 following news that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission planned to take legal action against him over "trading and reporting ownership positions in Biovail securities."[13]

In March, 2008, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Melnyk and Biovail for accounting fraud. The SEC press release claims that Melnyk and other executives "repeatedly overstated earnings and hid losses in order to deceive investors and create the appearance of achieving earnings goals. When it ultimately became impossible to continue concealing the company's inability to meet its own earnings guidance, Biovail actively misled investors and analysts about the reasons for the company's poor performance." Biovail settled for $10 million US.[14]

In May 2011, Melnyk was banned from senior roles at public companies in Canada for five years and fined $565,000 by the Ontario Securities Commission. Melnyk also settled with the SEC, and agreed to pay a civil penalty of $150,000, in addition to $1 million previously paid to settle other claims with the SEC.[15]

Sports franchise owner[edit]

Mississauga IceDogs[edit]

Melnyk's first foray into sports franchise ownership came in 2001 with the purchase of the St. Michael's Majors of the Ontario Hockey League. At the time, the club played at the St. Michael's College School's Arena in Toronto, but Melnyk aimed to move the team to nearby Mississauga. As there was already an OHL team in Mississauga, the Mississauga IceDogs, Melnyk subsequently purchased the IceDogs franchise in 2006 and resold them in 2007 in order to facilitate the move of the Majors from Toronto to Mississauga. Per the deal arranged by Melnyk, the IceDogs' new ownership relocated the team to St. Catharines, Ontario and the team became known as the Niagara IceDogs. On May 10, 2012, Melnyk sold the St. Michael's Majors (now called the Mississauga Steelheads) to Elliott Kerr for an undisclosed price.[16]

Ottawa Senators[edit]

On August 26, 2003, Melnyk purchased the Ottawa Senators NHL franchise along with their arena, then known as the Corel Centre. At that time the team was facing bankruptcy and an uncertain future in Ottawa, and was purchased for the sum of $92 million USD.[17]

By November, 2016, the Ottawa Senators were listed by Forbes magazine as the NHL's twenty-third highest valued franchise at $355 million USD.[17] Though the team enjoyed some success on the ice under Melnyk's leadership, culminating in a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, fans in Ottawa had gradually become disillusioned with Melnyk's management style and perceived unwillingness to spend the money needed to build a championship caliber team. This has resulted in pressure from the Senators' fanbase for a change in team ownership,[18] with Melnyk himself being cited as "the worst sports franchise owner in North America" by some in the sports media.[8] In March, 2018, a GoFundMe campaign organized by local fan Spencer Callaghan raised more than $10,000 in under a month, with the funds used to erect four billboards across Ottawa calling for Melnyk to sell the team, with the message "#MelnykOut". A fifth billboard was scheduled to go up on April 2.[18] Callaghan told media that he felt the team was being mismanaged under Melnyk's leadership, and had demonstrated a willingness to drive both players and front office staff away, citing the recent losses of President and CEO Cyril Leeder, who had been with the organization since its inception, and popular players such as Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson. Leeder's replacement, Tom Anselmi, submitted his resignation to Melnyk less than a year later.[19] Fans were also deeply concerned at rumours that the team's popular current captain, Erik Karlsson, was also about to be traded away, a rumour that ultimately came true months later in September 2018, further alienating the fanbase.[18][20] Many fans began declaring on various social media platforms their personal boycotts of Senators' games, typically directing their complaints at Melnyk.[21] Despite this backlash, Melnyk has often stated on the record that he has no intention of selling the franchise.[22]

Senators fans were further infuriated in 2017 when Melnyk told reporters that he would be open to the idea of moving the franchise to a different city if the fanbase didn't make efforts to increase attendance at Senators' home games. "I'm not going to blow a lifetime of working hard to support a hockey team. It's not gonna happen", Melnyk said, adding "It's a franchise. Imagine if you own a McDonald's franchise, but you can move it. Why would you sell it?". Melnyk also reiterated he was not seeking buyers or equity investors to solve the team's problems. When pressed by reporters to clarify whether or not he would consider moving the team out of Ottawa, Melnyk replied, "If it becomes a disaster, yes. If you start not seeing crowds showing up, yes."[23]

On September 11, 2018, the Senators released a video online in which Melnyk outlined the franchise's plans for a rebuild. The video received considerable criticism from fans and media for its awkward presentation and for the owner's own characterization of his team as being "in the dumpster".[24] The relationship between Melnyk and Senators' fans further deteriorated at the 2019 trade deadline when the Senators traded away their leading scorers and remaining core players, Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, and Mark Stone, all of whom were well liked in the community. Despite earlier promising to make every effort to re-sign the star players, Melnyk later contradicted himself when he was quoted as saying that trading away Mark Stone had been "[planned] for some time" as part of the rebuild.[25]

In November 2018, fingers were pointed at Melnyk after a collection of newly created and suspicious Twitter accounts began appearing, all of which praised Melnyk's performance while attacking his detractors. The Twitter accounts largely targeted certain writers who covered the Senators for local newspapers the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun, making similar claims that these writers had treated Melnyk unfairly. Speculation immediately arose that these were bot accounts and not real human beings. A subsequent investigation conducted by the Ottawa Citizen revealed that, although the bots could not be conclusively traced back to Melnyk, they were "created to launch a co-ordinated disinformation campaign and to attack media coverage of the Sens while lauding the team and its owner Eugene Melnyk".[26]

At a July, 2019, concert by The Rolling Stones near Barrie, Ontario, Melnyk claimed he was confronted by Lisa MacLeod, Conservative MPP for the Ottawa suburb of Nepean. According to Melnyk, MacLeod angrily approached him and told him "I am your minister and you're a fucking piece of shit and you're a fucking loser." Melnyk subsequently issued a written complaint to Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Susan Truppe, director of public affairs and deputy chief of staff for MacLeod's office, was standing near MacLeod when Melnyk alleged that the verbal assault took place, and she disputed Melnyk's account. "I don’t even know what he’s talking about," Truppe told the Ottawa Citizen, adding "I certainly didn’t hear that. I remember watching what it was, but I didn’t hear that whatsoever."[27]

Senators' attendance suffered under Melnyk, and during the 2018-19 season the team set a franchise record for unfilled seats, with attendance dropping to a 22-year low. During that season, the team drew an average of 14,553 fans to its home games, the team's lowest attendance figures since it began playing in its current arena towards the end of the 1995-96 season. Attendance had already been trending downward since 2012-13, when Senators' home games attracted an average of 19,408 fans.[21]

As of late 2019, Melnyk remains the team's sole owner and holds the additional titles of governor and chairman.


On September 16, 2008, Melnyk proposed plans for an Ottawa Major League Soccer professional soccer team, and a new soccer-specific Ottawa Soccer Stadium [28] but could not obtain support from Ottawa's municipal Council. Instead, the Mayor and Council chose a different site for the Canadian Football League's Ottawa Redblacks franchise.

In 2009, Melnyk served as chairman of the IIHF World U20 Championship.[29]

Mohegan Sun lawsuit[edit]

In July 2019, Melnyk was sued by Connecticut casino Mohegan Sun for more than $900,000 USD. According to court documents, Melnyk attempted to pay the casino with five bank drafts totaling $900,000 following a 2017 St. Patrick's Day gambling spree. The drafts were subsequently "dishonoured" by the bank. Mohegan Sun management was forced to initiate legal proceedings against Melnyk to recoup that money, plus an additional $15,000 in damages, costs and interest.[8][30]

Business ventures[edit]

  • Ottawa Senators (NHL Team)[31]
  • Canadian Tire Centre (Multi-purpose Arena and home of the Ottawa Senators)[32]
  • Trimel Pharmaceuticals Corporation[33]
  • Biovail Corporation (retired),[34] formerly known as Trimel Pharmaceuticals (same name as Melnyk's new pharmaceutical company) [34]
  • Bert's Bar (Barbados)[35]
  • Bert's Bar (Ottawa)[36]
  • Providence Charitable Trust[37]
  • Providence Elementary and Secondary schools[38]
  • Winding Oaks Farm (Florida, USA)[39]
  • Fusion Brands Inc. (Cosmetics & Fragrances)[40][41]
  • Olivann (Fragrance) [42]
  • PurGenesis Technologies Inc.[43][44]
  • Barbados real estate [45]


Eugene Melnyk is involved with various charitable organizations. His primary charitable focus is on helping children and the elderly. His involvement has included:

  • Honorary Director of Help Us Help the Children (HUHC), a humanitarian organization that benefits from his annual donation of medical supplies and clothing. The organization, founded in Canada, helps to offer vital care to over 100,000 children living in 220 orphanages scattered throughout Ukraine.[46]
  • Donated $1.8 million to St. Michael's College School to upgrade the field with new state-of-the-art artificial grass, stadium lights, sound system, and an electronic scoreboard. This field is called "The Eugene Melnyk Sports Field".[47][48] Melnyk has made several significant donations to the school making him the single largest individual donor in the 150+ year history of the St. Michael's College School.
  • Donated $1 million to the Belmont Child Care Association for the construction of a child care center at Belmont Park. Called Anna House, it is named after one of his two daughters and the center is the first facility in the United States to be located on the grounds of a racetrack. The center provides child care for all families who work at Belmont Park regardless of their ability to pay for services. Many of the children belong to grooms, exercise riders and other behind-the-scenes racetrack employees.[49][50]
  • Donated to finance the elaborately decorated Byzantine-style Ukrainian Catholic chapel at the St. Demetrius Residence Centre for the elderly in Toronto.[51]
  • Donated $1 million to launch the foundation "Patrons of Sport" with Canadian Athletes Now Fund (CAN Fund). The foundation supports Canadian athletes.[46][52]
  • Honorary Patron of the St. Joseph's Health Centre; Donated $5 million to St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto to help improve patient access to one of Toronto's oldest hospitals. Eugene's father, the late Dr. Ferdinand Melnyk, was instrumental in creating the hospital's first emergency room department that now services the largest volume of patients of any single site hospital in the Greater Toronto Area. This donation was the single, largest private donation in the 86-year history of St. Joseph's Health Centre.[53]
  • In April 2007 Eugene made a special surprise visit to Kandahar, Afghanistan to deliver a special donation of hockey equipment to Canadian and United States troops involved in the NATO rebuilding efforts in that country.[46]
  • The Ottawa Senators Foundation is the second largest charity in Ottawa/Gatineau region. His involvement with this Foundation has led him to become a Founding Partner of an ambitious and innovative $4.5 million pediatric palliative care facility in Ottawa called Roger's House which he helped to officially open in April 2006 and is only the second facility of its kind in North America.[54]
  • Hosts the "Eugene Melnyk Skate for Kids" event at Canadian Tire Centre every year where he donates Senators jerseys, helmets and brand new skates to hundreds of underprivileged children living in Ottawa.[55]
  • In 2014 Melnyk spearheaded a campaign to boycott sponsors of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in order to push FIFA to remove the event from Russia, out of protest for its war with Ukraine.[56]

Personal life[edit]

Eugene Melnyk was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He now resides permanently in Barbados. He is divorced and has two children.[57]

Melnyk was made honorary Colonel of the No. 414 Squadron RCAF.[58]

On May 19, 2015 Melnyk underwent a successful liver transplant surgery at Toronto General Hospital.[59]

See also[edit]


  • Ottawa Senators Media Guide 2007-08. Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. 2007.
  1. ^ Mr. Eugene Melnyk St. Michael's College
  2. ^ Bulka: Presumed consent the wrong approach Ottawa Citizen, May 24, 2015
  3. ^ a b Ukrainian-Canadians answering call of the homeland The Star, Dec 22 2014
  4. ^ a b Sens owner Melnyk urges Canadian action on Ukraine The Globe and Mail, March 25, 2014
  5. ^ Canadian Business, December 9, 2013 issue
  6. ^ Melnyk – one of the wealthiest - NationNews Barbados - Local, Regional and International News -
  7. ^ alpha services - Barbados Archived 2013-10-05 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c d [1] The Ringer, October 8, 2019
  9. ^ "Barbados Remains Canada's Top Tax Haven". Canadians For Tax Fairness. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  10. ^ McGregor, Glen. "Why was Eugene Melnyk, a foreign resident, eligible for surgery in Ontario?". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  11. ^ BIOVAIL CORP./Ontario, Canada Drug Firm Has Last Laugh Over Questionable Buy -
  12. ^ Anderson, Scott (March 5, 2009). "Biovail founder "did right thing" in 2003 case". Rueters. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "Melnyk to retire from Biovail" Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  14. ^ SEC Charges Biovail Corporation and Senior Executives With Accounting Fraud, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission press release, March 24, 2008
  15. ^ ""Melnyk banned from the boardroom for 5 years". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  16. ^ Kerr buys Mississauga Majors
  17. ^ a b "The Business of Hockey". Retrieved 2017-05-28.
  18. ^ a b c Tang, Justin (March 19, 2018). "Frustrated Senators fans' #MelnykOut billboards go up across Ottawa". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  19. ^ Scanlan, Wayne, (February 12, 2018) Ottawa Sun
  20. ^ Deachman, Bruce (September 14, 2018). "Senators fans vent and point fingers at owner Eugene Melnyk over Erik Karlsson trade". Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Ottawa Senators' average attendance hits 22-year low in 2018-19 season". OBJ Staff. Ottawa Business Journal. April 9, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  22. ^ Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk: Team is not for sale | Senators | Sports | Ottawa Sun
  23. ^ Fox, Luke (December 15, 2017). "Ottawa owner talks moving Senators: 'If it becomes a disaster, yes'". Rogers SportsNet. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  24. ^ "Ottawa Senators are 'kind of in the dumpster,' owner declares to fans in ostensibly motivational video". Postmedia Network Inc. September 11, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  25. ^ The Toxic Culture of the Ottawa Senators
  26. ^ Fenton, Drake (November 16, 2018). "How a collection of apparently fake Twitter accounts launched a troll campaign to support the Ottawa Senators". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  27. ^ Crawford, Blair (July 5, 2019). "'I'm your minister and you're a f---ing loser': Eugene Melnyk recounts Lisa MacLeod's alleged public tirade". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  28. ^ "Bring the World to Ottawa". Archived from the original on 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  29. ^ He also served as chairman of the Host Organizing Committee which was responsible for overseeing this major international hockey tournament. The event saw Team Canada win its fifth consecutive gold medal and the overall tournament shattered all financial, economic and broadcast records: nearly a half million tickets were sold for the event which generated in excess of $80 million in regional economic activity for the nation's capital. Eugene Melnyk: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek
  30. ^ "U.S. casino sues Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk for more than $900K". CBC Staff. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. September 14, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  31. ^ Ottawa Senators
  32. ^ Canadian Tire Centre :: Home
  33. ^ Trimel Pharmaceuticals Corporation
  34. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-04-29. Retrieved 2006-04-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ Bert's Barbados - Welcome
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2012-08-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ Yearwood, Trevor (2009-07-06). "'All-inclusive' school by 2010". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  38. ^ Providence School
  39. ^ Winding Oaks Farm
  40. ^ Home page Fusion Beauty
  41. ^ Eugene Melnyk Acquires Fusion Brands Inc. and Fusion Brands International
  42. ^ CORRECTION FROM SOURCE/Eugene Melnyk and Olivann Beauty Congratulates British Band One Direction on Launch of New Fragrance
  43. ^ Account Suspended
  44. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2012-08-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  45. ^ Players got nothin' on these coaches Archived 2013-10-31 at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ a b c Biography Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2012-08-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  48. ^[permanent dead link]
  49. ^[permanent dead link]
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2009-10-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^ Ukrainians abroad strive to keep alive cultural traditions of the homeland
  52. ^ CANADIAN ATHLETES NOW FUND | Eugene Melnyk launches national 'Patrons of Sport' campaign in support of Canadian athletes Archived 2013-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  53. ^ Eugene Melnyk Donates $5 million to St. Joseph’s Health Centre Improves Patient Access to one of Toronto’s Oldest Hospitals
  54. ^ Roger'S House Officially Opens Its Doors | Ottawa Start.Com Archived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine
  55. ^ Eugene Melnyk Skate for Kids creates a lifetime of memories - Ottawa Senators - News
  56. ^
  57. ^ Ottawa Senators owner Melnyk in divorce proceeding
  58. ^
  59. ^ Canadian Jewish News: "Want more organ donors? Pay them" June 3, 2015

External links[edit]