While the bulk of the roster that came within one goal of an appearance in the Stanley Cup final remains, the Senators’ front office carousel continues to spin.
At least he lasted longer than Anthony Scaramucci’s 11 days.
According to Hall of Fame baseball writer Bob Elliott, the Ottawa Senators’ chief financial officer, Stephen Brooks, has resigned from his position to return to the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.
Brooks joined the Senators after resigning from his vice-president of business operations position with the Jays in April of 2016.
Despite a large growth in ticket sales during Brooks’ watch with the Jays, the hiring of Mark Shapiro as the team’s new president marked a change in direction. Not surprisingly, Brooks was replaced by someone from Cleveland, the organization that Shapiro worked for prior to joining Toronto.
Just from an optics perspective, the departure of Brooks doesn’t lend itself to the perception of stability. Brooks’ departure is certainly going to fuel the suggestion that it’s growing increasingly more difficult to work under owner Eugene Melnyk.
The numbers certainly support that argument.
Not only are the Senators now having to search for their fourth chief financial officer within a three-year span, the organization recently had a lawsuit brought against it and its owner by Peter O’Leary, it’s former chief marketing officer who was dismissed on December 12, 2016. Within that lawsuit, O’Leary alleged that his position was undermined because Stephen Brooks reported directly to Melnyk, “thereby diminishing the authority of both Leeder and O’Leary.”
Within the last year, the organization has also fired its team president, its vice-president of broadcasting, its general counsel and its director of human resources.
The beloved Daniel Alfredsson has also left this organization twice in the last four years.
Since the time Melnyk bought the team in 2003, the Senators have gone through nine head coaches (including Bryan Murray’s return to the bench in 2008) in the last 14 years. Just to put things in perspective, that’s akin to hiring a new head coach almost every 19 months.
For all we know, Stephen Brooks could have left his position for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was a family decision and he wanted to return home to Toronto. He could have left under similar circumstances as to why he left the Blue Jays last year. Just like the hiring of Mark Shapiro, maybe the hiring of new president Tom Anselmi this past January led to philosophical differences or maybe Anselmi wanted to in his own handpicked candidate for the role.
While each one of these possibilities could be true, but the concern that Melnyk’s autocratic leadership is having a negative impact on this franchise is very real. Brooks could be leaving because of an unrelated matter, but until that reason sees the light of day, it will be overshadowed by the suggestion that “things run by erratic, rich guys tend to have trouble keeping staff around.”
It’s not a good look.