Bettman To Québec City: Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

The NHL does not want to return to Québec City.

Hockey consumers living in Québec City, probably feel that the National Hockey League hates them. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has again thrown water on the notion that Québec City has what it takes to be an NHL City. Bettman recently said, “I know there’s been constant speculation about that. We’re not in an expansion mode. If we decide to participate or have the possibility of expansion we’ll let the people of Québec City know. Those who might want to own a team.” Bettman did say Montréal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson would not block a second team in the Canadian province of Québec. “This is a conversation Geoff and I have had over the years. I know there’s rumor and speculation as to what the Canadiens’ position would be and I would tell you for a certainty Geoff has constantly over the years said to me if, in fact, we as a league wanted to expand he’d welcome a team in Quebec City.”

For years, Québec City proponents have been after a team but the NHL bypassed the city in its latest rounds of expansion. Québec City hosted an NHL team between 1979 and 1995 but Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut could no longer afford to keep the team in town after failing to get a 1990s state-of-the art arena and sold the team to Colorado interests who moved the franchise to Denver. In 2016, the NHL said no to a Québec City expansion team bid. Québec City has hockey fans, but there are not enough well-heeled customers because Québec City is a small market, a government town with limited corporate support.  In March, 2022, Québec City politicians offered to host five Ottawa Senators games in the 2022-23 season. That idea was tabled.

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