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One Quebec columnist eyeballs two potential teams to fill new Quebec City arena

Sep 7, 2010, 1:24 PM EDT

quebecnordiqueslogo.jpgSo we’re all a bit excited that they’re going to build an NHL-sized arena in Quebec City. Granted this is something that’s coming about 15 years too late given that one of the main reasons why the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche is because they played in the archaic and run-down Colisee de Quebec.  The catch now is that Quebec doesn’t have a team to put in their new arena and the NHL is a bit reticent to moving teams haphazardly (just ask Jim Balsillie about that).

François Gagnon of La Presse picks out a couple of teams he thinks make good candidates (column in French) to move to Quebec City to fill the new arena. Many thanks to Julie Veilleux for translating this section of his column for us.

The Thrashers or the Panthers?

That being said, he might be dreaming about the NHL, but I don’t see how he can dream about the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Well! It’s obvious that the idea of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St-Louis and Simon Gagné playing in Québec is alluring, as is the prospect of the city inheriting a team that has a real chance of getting ahead of the Canadiens in the standings next season and is led by three Québécois.

But the Lightning won’t leave Tampa.

The new owner is filthy rich. He made some colossal investments to ensure his team would be well established in North Florida and will not budge.

At least not in the short term.

Which means that if we are to see the Nordiques’ rebirth in La Belle Ville any time soon, we have to turn our focus to the Florida Panthers or the Atlanta Thrashers as potential teams likely to head for Québec.

Why not Phoenix?

Because Phoenix apparently already has a foot – or a skate – in the door in Winnipeg, the Manitoban capital that the former Jets deserted in the spring of 1996.

All right, so once again things boil down to the two teams that lack in fan support and attendance and that’s not surprising. That said, these hopes and pipe dreams might need to step on the gas if fans in Quebec are hoping that either of these teams could be on the way north.

Florida may turn out to be bad this year, but with Dale Tallon in charge as the GM, things may be turning around fast. The Thrashers were decent last season and took advantage of the Blackhawks miserable handling of the salary cap to load up their team this year, something that could put them in the playoffs as soon as this year.

These are high hopes and big dreams for fans in Quebec City who have been forlorn without the Nordiques, and rooting for teams to fail in other markets seems to invite a lot of bad karma.  Then again, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in their first season in Denver so perhaps fans in Quebec don’t give a crap about such mysticism.

  1. Donny Rivette - Sep 7, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Dude’s just stoking the emotions of his audience to drive up hits. Doesn’t even provide an argument as to why either Atlanta or – even less likely – Florida would relocate. Have we not traveled this tired road a hundred times in the past several years?

  2. gennygee3 - Sep 7, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    yo bra, check this new thing my boss forwarded me. till tom man..

  3. The Emperor - Sep 8, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    F*** the Nordiques! Bring back the Whalers!

  4. Jay - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    The NHL is not going to leave a major US city like Atlanta. Not this time anyways. The Thrashers have diehard fans like every team. It’s getting the casual fan in the door that only winning can bring. Atlanta used to draw well in it’s early years, but after one playoff appearance in ten years, interest has waned. If the same situation happened in Quebec(or anywhere other than apparently Toronto), the fans there most likely wouldn’t sell out the building, either. Would relocation talk start for them? It was just a few short seasons ago that the Blackhawks had less than 8,000 for home games. Let’s give this relocation talk a break.

  5. christian audet - Sep 9, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Quebec Nordiques were dead last in the NHL from 1989 to 1993, and the building was sold at 96%. Building is sold out for pre season game between two foreign teams, sold out for junior games, sold out for world championship games, even when involving boring europeans teams…Quebec is a hockey town. Nothing to compare with Atlanta or Miami where football is king.
    Inactive Quebec Nordiques have a fanclub counting more that 60 000 members for now, called Nordiques nation…How many members in the Trahsres fanclub? About 213? How many in the Florida Panthers fanclub? Is there a fanclub anyway?
    NHL has nothing to do in the southern states. It will soon be back to where peoples love the game.

  6. jason - Sep 28, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    As I remember correctly, Those Canandian teams left for a reason!, Sure the attendance in Phoenix, and Miami, or even Atlanta may be low, but remember the Los Angelos Rams, or the L.A. Raiders? they both moved out of the 2nd biggest T.V. market for the NFL. Why did they move, because of the different markets. L.A. still after 10 years does not have a NFL fooball team. So Quebec, Winnepeg, yeah I do feel the house would sell out, but the market is wrong, it’s all buisness, its not a game anymore, and that goes for all sports. They unfortunatley will have to wait, I do feel they will get an NHL team in time. I do feel the Panthers may move up to Canada, and I also feel the Jacksonville Jaguars may move to L.A. as well. but at the end of the day, thats all rumors, well keep on with the wishfull thinking….also remember the economy that we are feeling too..

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