Without confirming whether the company is active in the file of a possible relocation of the Coyotes from Arizona, Quebecor maintains its “great interest in the return of the Nordiques to Quebec” and insists on “the ability of the market to support a professional team “.
The Coyotes’ future is in jeopardy more than ever, after the citizens of Tempe, the city where the team plays its home games, rejected a mega development project that included the construction of a new arena for the NHL team. . The latter is therefore condemned, until further notice, to remain in its small amphitheater of barely 4,600 seats.
This situation once again revives the idea of a return of the Quebec Nordiques, as during the sale of the Ottawa Senators a few months ago. As in the past, Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor, appears to be the most likely candidate if an offer were to come from the Old Capital. On several occasions over the past decade, Mr. Péladeau has publicly expressed an interest in bringing back the franchise that disappeared in 1995.
In a written statement provided to La Presse, Martin Tremblay, Chief Operating Officer of Quebecor’s Sports and Entertainment Group, reiterated the company’s enthusiasm. “Fan support for the Remparts in this [QMJLH] series demonstrates their passion for hockey and the ability of the Quebec City market to support a professional team,” he said, without specifying. whether or not Quebecor was actively preparing an offer to purchase.
Mayor Bruno Marchand explicitly displayed his enthusiasm. “The demonstration is made” that Quebec is a hockey city, he told the daily Le Soleil.
“Is there a door that opens?” My answer is going to be: if the phone rings, we’ll pick it up, he added. We, as a city, are ready. »
In the Government of Quebec, we are much more circumspect. On a mission in Europe, the Quebec Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, remains cautious in his remarks for the moment in the context where the League has just suffered the setback in Arizona.
“We have no comment on the Coyotes case. Our interest in an NHL team is known to League authorities,” he said in a written statement.
In 2021, Prime Minister François Legault gave his chief treasurer the mandate to work on the return of an NHL team to Quebec. Eric Girard had three interviews last year with League leaders, including Gary Bettman. Publicly, the League always said that there was “currently no opportunity” for Quebec. She also pointed out that two other US cities, Houston and Atlanta, had interest in an expansion team.
At the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Quebec, we note that we have heard of no initiative “on the part of companies or potential investors” in the region, which includes Quebecor.
By way of a referendum, the population of Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix, overwhelmingly said no on Tuesday to a 2.1 billion project which provided for the construction of an entertainment district whose centerpiece would have been the arena of Coyotes.
This is a cold shower for the organization and for the NHL, which finally saw a viable solution for permanent establishment in this market. Both bodies expressed strong disappointment and said they would be evaluating different “options” over the coming weeks. Sticking to a succinct statement, the League did not indicate its commitment to keeping the team in the Phoenix area. Since the establishment of the club in 1996, the commissioner of the circuit, Gary Bettman, has defended tooth and nail the presence of hockey in this state. He could be running out of arguments this time.
If the NHL resolved to relocate, we can bet that the city of Houston would leave with a head start. The names of Salt Lake City, Kansas City, and even Atlanta have also come up over time.