From the moment the Quebec Nordiques were relocated to Colorado back in 1995, there has been a demand to bring NHL hockey back to the capital of la belle province.
On Tuesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman took questions from members of the media in Montreal. Unsurprisingly, the topic came up once again.
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“I know there’s been constant speculation about that,” said Bettman. “We’re not in an expansion mode,” he explained. While the commissioner denied rumours of anything happening in the near future, he did not completely shut the door on the idea, saying, “If we decide to participate or have the possibility of expansion, we’ll let the people of Quebec City know.”
According to Bettman, Canadiens owner Geoff Molson has also made it very clear that if the league wanted to expand, “he would welcome a team in Quebec City.”
Over the years, debates have broken out about whether Quebec’s population could sustain an NHL franchise. The passion for junior hockey is a strong indication that it could.
Last June over 14,000 fans attended a QMJHL semi-final game between the Shawinigan Cataractes and Quebec Remparts at the Vidéotron Centre, an NHL-sized arena. For context, that’s higher than the average attendance for NHL teams like New Jersey, Anaheim, San Jose, Buffalo, and Arizona.