The Rock rumoured to be involved in group bidding to purchase NHL's Senators

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be looking to cross over into the hockey world and is reportedly attached to a group bidding for the Senators.


Can you smell what the Ottawa Senators are cooking? It appears another Hollywood A-lister is attached to a bid to purchase the team, as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is reportedly involved with one of the prospective buyers.

Johnson, who joined a group of investors to buy the XFL rights in August 2020, may now look to cross over into the hockey world amid the Senators Sports & Entertainment’s sale following the death of former owner Eugene Melnyk, who passed away last March.

Though interest in the Senators has been widespread, the former professional wrestler has connected with one of the top bidders — the Neko Sparks group, which is reportedly willing to pay upwards of $950 million.

“With the Neko Sparks group, I’m told that their big celebrity is… Dwayne Johnson. The Rock is apparently involved with the Neko Sparks group,” former TSN host Brent Wallace reported Thursday on the Coming In Hot podcast with Jason York and Bobby Ryan.

“One of the biggest, well-known people on the planet could possibly be a part of the face of your franchise. I think that’s a pretty big deal, and I think the Neko Sparks group has him in their corner.”

Sparks, the head of a technology firm and a media production company, hopes to become the NHL’s first Black owner and leads a group of 13-15 North American investors, 75 percent of whom are people of colour.

For those wondering how this could impact Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds’ pursuit of the Senators, there’s a chance the Deadpool actor could join Sparks’ group if it lands the winning bid. In doing so, Johnson and Reynolds could co-star as faces of the franchise.

“Ryan Reynolds and The Rock are very close friends, from what I understand,” Wallace said. “They’ve done a movie together called ‘Red Notice.’ They’ve done a few social media posts together if I’m not mistaken. I believe that may help sway possibly Ryan Reynolds [to] joining that group if Neko Sparks was to get the team.”

The NHL began fielding its first wave of offers on the Senators last week, with one bid exceeding $900 million, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Friedman noted the next phase will include vetting each offer, with a minimum amount believed to be set around $900 million.

Sportico recently valued the Senators at $655 million, though the franchise will almost certainly be sold at a significantly higher price than that appraisal. Fenway Sports Group bought the Pittsburgh Penguins for $900 million last year, while the Nashville Predators were recently sold for $775 million to former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam.

Olivia and Anna Melnyk are the current owners of the Senators, with a board of directors running the day-to-day operations.