Quebec City vows to continue fight for NHL team
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[June 23, 2016]
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) - Quebec City's dreams of
landing a National Hockey League team were crushed on Wednesday but
the company behind the bid vowed to keep working on bringing the
Nordiques back to Canada.
The NHL's Board of Governors decided to defer the Quebec City bid,
due largely to a fluctuating Canadian dollar and the league's
geographic imbalance, during a meeting where they unanimously
approved expanding to Las Vegas.
It was a massive blow to a city that has not had an NHL team since
their beloved Nordiques left for Denver and became the Colorado
Avalanche in 1995.
"Bringing the Nordiques back to Quebec City remains a priority for
Quebecor. As you all know, we love the game," Quebecor Inc chief
executive Pierre Dion told a news conference in Las Vegas. "We will
continue to work with determination to achieve this goal."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the application by the Canadian
telecom and media conglomerate "first rate" as it included a brand
new arena along with strong ownership credentials with an eagerness
to own a team.
But ultimately, Bettman said the bid was deferred due to elements
over which bidding group had no control over.
"In considering both applications for expansion it was a priority
for the board to create conditions that would place an incoming
club, or clubs, in the best position to exceed on an expedited
basis," said Bettman, emphasizing the bid was not rejected but
"Unfortunately the state and volatility of the Canadian dollar
undermined the achievement of that objective relative to the Quebec
Another strike against the Quebec City was the NHL's reluctance to
adding another team to its Eastern Conference, which currently has
16 teams, compared to the West, which will have 15 teams when Las
Vegas begins play in 2017.
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Former NHL hockey player Yvan Cournoyer (L) lifts the Stanley Cup as
Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Dion looks on during a press
conference in Boucherville, Quebec, September 3, 2014.
"Quebec City is a tremendous hockey town and it is certainly a
strong candidate for future expansion but right now there exists an
imbalance in the league," said Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs,
who is head of the NHL's executive committee.
"We have more teams in the East than in the West. In order to grow
the sport of hockey in North America we had to correct this
Despite the setback, there will remain hope in Quebec City that
world's top hockey league could successfully move one of its
struggling franchises to the provincial capital if a current team
"People in Quebec City are still very passionate about the
Nordiques," said Dion. "Even though the team left more than 20 years
ago the Nordiques remain very much a part of their daily discussions
(Editing by Steve Keating)
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