Quebec premier says NHL backs team in Quebec City
Quebec’s premier is confident the NHL wants to bring a team back
to Quebec City.
Jean Charest told The Canadian Press on Thursday that he
discussed the issue with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the
Montreal Canadiens’ 100th anniversary game on Friday.
The premier, on a trade mission in Moscow, said Bettman seemed
sincerely interested in bringing pro hockey back to the provincial
capital a decade and a half after the Nordiques left to become the
Charest said the commissioner appeared convinced of two things:
the economic viability of a team in Quebec, and the prospect of
Bettman has said in the past that he would consider Quebec City
as a possible home to an NHL team if it followed through on plans
to build a top arena and if a team were for sale.
The premier says several factors, including revenue-sharing and
a salary cap, have made pro hockey more viable from a business
standpoint than it was in the 1990s.
“I find it encouraging that the National Hockey League sees
viable market conditions there,” Charest told the CP. “The real
question for a hockey team is whether it’s economically feasible
and, in a market like Quebec, I believe the answer is yes.”
He conceded that the team will remain a pipe dream as long as
Quebec doesn’t build a modern arena. The city administration wants
to build one, but expects almost all the money – $238 million – to
come from public funds at the federal and provincial levels.
“We’re still far from having a hockey team,” Charest said.
“We would need a multipurpose center and I believe in that project
because a city of Quebec’s size needs a multipurpose
But one prominent sports economist says that if the project made
financial sense private investors would already be lining up to
build the arena with their own money.
Michel Poitevin, head of the University of Montreal’s economics
department, notes that the Montreal Canadiens were purchased, and
their Bell Centre built, without public funds. So was the city’s
stadium for the Montreal Impact soccer team.