Months after the city’s expansion bid for an NHL franchise fell short, some in Quebec City still desire a hockey team at the Videotron Centre.
Once the Videotron Centre opened last fall, hope grew that Quebec City would be able to nab an expansion franchise. It seemed for a while that the NHL would choose both Quebec City and Las Vegas for franchise, but ultimately the league’s Board of Governors was picked Vegas and overlooked Quebec City.
For a variety of reasons, this has caused some frustration among Quebec City hockey supporters. The city has been without an NHL franchise since the Quebec Nordiques departed for Denver after the 1994-95 season, and the latest round of expansion was the city’s best chance in years to land a franchise. Additionally the NHL was seen as an imminent reward for building the Videotron Centre, which attracted some opponents because Quebec City borrowed $175 million for its construction.
Obviously the potential scheduling and revenue gains that could come from an NHL team leave some question marks about the Videotron Centre’s financial outlook, and talks have not picked up about attracting either an expansion or existing franchise. However, some in Quebec City still have hope that the league will return. More from the Globe and Mail:
“It bothers me when I hear that we have to step up and show the league, we have to prove how much we want a team. We’ve done exactly everything that’s been asked of us, there’s no better hockey market than Quebec, and yet we’re expected to constantly roll out the red carpet, smile and be happy,” said Pascal Grenon, who co-ordinates the popular fan site Zonenordiques.com. “Quebec is becoming the exhibition-game capital of the world. That’s great, but what we want is the Nordiques, not regular-season prices for preseason games.”
An unscientific sampling of opinion on Grenon’s site suggests it’s not isolated grumbling.
“My sense is people are starting to get disillusioned,” Grenon said. “The longer this drags on, the more cynical people become. Maybe at some point we’ll just get tired of waiting.”
That said, the dream of seeing Nordiques jerseys swirl around an NHL rink once again lives on. Grenon, ever the optimist, reckons relocation could happen as soon as 2017.
Reports after Quebec City’s failed expansion bid indicated that the weakening of the Canadian dollar was likely behind the NHL’s decision. While it is certainly not out of the question that Quebec City eventually attracts a team, it will have to ensure a strong economic pitch to both the league and a prospective owner, regardless if a team were to come from relocation or expansion.
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