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Columnist: Quebec City should get first crack at Coyotes

Feb 8, 2012, 1:45 PM EDT

Nordiques Rally Hockey AP

Given all the recent talk about the Phoenix Coyotes ending up in Seattle, it’s worth reading Stephen Brunt’s column for Sportsnet.ca that makes the case for Quebec City over any other potential NHL market.

Among the things Quebec City has going for it, according to Brunt:

—- An owner with deep pockets (Pierre Karl Peladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor)

—- Plans for a new arena, to be built by 2015 (not guaranteed, but likely)

—- A suitable temporary home in the old Colisee

While Brunt admits that Quebec City “may not be a metropolis,” and it “may not ring a lot of bells when you put it up on American marquees,” it’s – and this is the important part – “filled with people who actually like hockey.”

Translation: It’s Winnipeg with people who speak French.

And that’s the biggest strike against Seattle – sure it’s a big market with no shortage of corporate headquarters, but nobody knows if enough people like hockey there.

Not to mention, assuming the NBA returns to Seattle if a new arena gets built, the NHL would have to compete with the NBA, NFL, MLB, NCAA (Washington Huskies), and MLS.

In Quebec City, the NHL would have to compete with what…Crashed Ice?

  1. ragpappy - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Makes Sense but I can’t see Quebec over Seattle for one reason alone…

    Corporate Sponsors.. The NHL is probably salivating about the opportunities to partner with Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon etc… It would raise the league profile and bring in new sponsorship dollars…

    No doubt in my mind if Seattle has a plan in place, which sounds like it’s close than it’s the NHL preferred destination for the Coyotes

  2. tmoore4075 - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Fans should be the #1 thing right now. There is enough sponsorship in Quebec to make it work. There is no guarantee that fans would show up in Seattle. Not saying a team shouldn’t go there but when you have Quebec City just sitting out there, like Winnipeg, I don’t think you pass it up. The NHL is a gate driven league and the gates would be packed in Quebec City.

  3. bfhockey - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Hartford Whalers…………

    • AlohaMrHand - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      And bring back their theme song!!!

      • michiganhockey11 - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        Can’t forget their goal fog horn looping directly into Rock’n Roll Part II…

    • craigkeller - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      I cant understand why Hartford isnt at the top of this list. Even though I doubt Hartford will get the Coyotes, I DO think that Charles Wang should take a VERY serious look into moving the Islanders to Hartford. The XL center, even in its current form, would make a better home than the trainwreck Nassau Coliseum. Howard Baldwin would make a great partner for Mr. Wang, and he would not have to lose the MSG broadcasting contract that he is currently locked into. The Islanders are a storied Franchise, what better way to bid farewell to the Islanders than to have them morph into another storied franchise in the New Hartford Whalers? Wang already has ties to CT with the Bridgeport Soundtigers, and he is familiar with how well their attendance fairs (at times its higher than his NHL club). Connecticut is a great place for hockey, and has proven to be so historically. The way we lost the Whalers was a travesty wrapped in a debacle. They were ripped from all of us without reason, OR A DESTINATION. The move was not prompted by lack of passion in the state, or fan attendance (which was in the lower 30% in the league, but nowhere near warranting a move) but the greed of a new owner who decided to move the team because a deal for a new arena could not be immediately reached with the city. BRING BACK THE WHALERS, BRING BRASS BONANZA BACK TO THE NHL!

  4. muckthefets23 - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    I’m with you, “Hartford, The Whale!”

    • michiganhockey11 - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      “It’s only the second period and I’m up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, “the Whale,” they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime …”

  5. DTF31 - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Quebec would make too much money as an expansion club to waste that chance on only a relocation fee

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      While they would make a crap load, two things there. One, the NHL should not expand. And second, they shouldn’t pass up on Quebec for that reason. With a new arena it’s almost a sure thing. Much more so than Seattle, Kansas City or anywhere else.

      • AppealToReason - Feb 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM

        Expansion is gonna happen with this new 4 conferences thing (it’ll go through in the next CBA). 8 in each. Phoenix will stay in the “west” while SO and QC get their teams to go into the Leafs-Habs etc.conference and the Florida teams bump into the New York conference

  6. pavelfitzgerald - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Phoenix was thriving with sponorship opportunities too wasn’t it? Seattle is building an arena for a basketball team, hockey is the backup plan.

    I’d also like to (kindly) point out Winnipeg is larger then Quebec City & that the Red Bull Crashed Ice is in St Paul & not in Quebec City.

    • Josh. - Feb 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      Crashed Ice isn’t a one-off event – it has a whole circuit. Here is the website for this year’s Quebec City event: http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Event/Red-Bull-Crashed-Ice-Canada-021243107226466

      • pavelfitzgerald - Feb 8, 2012 at 7:29 PM

        I stand corrected Josh. My bad

    • fraubnews - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Quebec population 2006: 765,706
      Winnipeg Population 2006: 730,018

      The reason that Quebec is a bigger market is that Levis city is in the other side of the river. (Same thing that New-Jersey and New-York. Tow different cities, but with a river to separate them)

  7. t16rich - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    I cant disagree with Quebec City at all. If that happens, I think Winnipeg moving to the western conference is a must. But lets be honest, whichever city gets the ball rolling on an arena first should get first crack.

  8. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    I was listening to Brunt and McCown on Prime Time Sports last night, and pretty much out of nowhere they stumbled upon the fact that the new arena is a done deal (only the mayor of Quebec can pull the plug at this point) they also figured out that there are deals in place to bring LeColisee up to NHL standards quickly (by September) then Darren Millard passed on the information of rumblings out there that the potential QC owners have already started talking to people about being broadcast teams, something that they wouldn’t do without the consent of someone in the NHL out of fear of upsetting Emporer Bettman. And finally they also point out rumblings that the reason Patrick Roy had no interest in the Canadiens job is because he’s already got an agreement in place to become head coach of the Nordiques.

    Take all that for what you will but all of this came from some quick digging after a simple throwaway comment from Marcel Aubut (former Nords owner and President of the COC) while they were doing a run of the mill intereview.

    • fraubnews - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      Except for Roy, as a Quebec citizen, I confirm the information. The Colisée gonna be updated this summer and the new arena is a done deal. Quebec is, without doubt, ready for a team as soon than September 2012. The only real rival for Quebec is Kansas City with the new arena there, but no owner as shown to buy a team when it was possible with Atlanta… so… welcome back Nords!

  9. greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 8, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    This is how I see it playing out. NHL and NHLPA will get their labor issues resolved. That is the only reason why Fehr disapproved of the realignment. That is his bargaining chip. Phoenix will go to Seattle keeping them in the same conference as before. Kansas City gets an expansion team that plays in the Midwest, giving Detroit there wants and moving them to the east. Quebec gets an expansion team to give all conferences 8 teams.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      With all of the financial issues in the league (apparently the Devils will be the new “Coyotes” after the Coyotes move) I think it makes more sense to get rid of 2 teams and have 4 divisions of 7.

  10. taytay099 - Feb 8, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    I would prefer to see Seattle get a team. I just don’t see how Quebec City can support a team with their fanbase. Look at how Montreal treats their non French speaking players and coach. It would only be worse in Quebec where it’ll be nearly 100% French. Just ask Eric Lindros.

  11. adirondack77 - Feb 8, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    This is (one of many) ground zeros for hockey. Just look at “Nordique Nation” – thousands of fans (of a team that hasn’t existed since the mid 90s) travel to other NHL cities to watch games and petition the league for their team back.

    This place will resemble Montreal, Boston, Toronto, Winnipeg or New York on game night- full house, lots of energy and excitement.

    Seattle, despite the corporate sponsorships, could go the way of Phoenix, Atlanta and now Dallas — snoooooze

  12. rainyday56 - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:55 AM

    Sure, move the Yotes to Quebec. Then watch the Canadian buck you back to 0.65 cents US. Then Seattle will get their team, along with the KC Flames, the OKC Oilers, and yeah, the Jets move back to AZ. …

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      With all of the US oil money flowing into Calgary, the CDN dollar dropping wouldn’t be a death blow to the Flames, when they had problems back in 2000 it was because of the $0.65 dollar and the fact they were getting less than 14,000 people per game, ever since the playoff run of 2004 they’ve been at capacity every night.

      Add to that the fact that the CDN dollar is basically commodity (oil) backed, a $0.65 dollar seems like something we won’t see for a long time.

      As long as the oil keeps flowing and the people keeping going to the Dome the Flames should be okay.

  13. baddorange - Feb 9, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    While Quebec City is nice and quaint, their inhabitants are almost as snotty as Parisians. Avoid them like thge plague.

  14. bauerstick - Feb 10, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    The Land of NEW FRANCE….The language that defines the Francophyle as the Francophyle!

    the Fleur de lef that is from the Old World and was a symbol of the Plantagniant Kings !!

    NEW FRANCE…will co –habit with the rest of the englophile –speaking folks,Perhaps. However…

    NOW,NOW, NOW….is the time to Permit QUEBEC CITY A Strong Ice Hockey Franchise !! Granted….it

    was a great Loss when our NORDIQUES were sold to Colorado in the U.S.! A very sad day, eh! When

    the powers that be up on Parliament Hill and some WEALTHY SPORTS Benefactors Did no Help in

    this serious matter !! From Many Sources SEE South of the CANADIAN BORDER…a Rumbling !!

    Seemingly—- generally— hopefully— ONE of these U.S. Teams shall Be purchased and Brought to

    the Fair Plain of QUEBEC CITY! The Place that Quentitenum Met with MONTCALM ON the Plains

    of ABRAHAM ! Many will finds there will be someday soon of a Meeting of two groups of men —

    {TEAMS….On ICE …} of course! There NEED Be built a grand HALLE….a great Stadium somewhat

    like the Bell Centre….in Montreal`. You see….If WE Build….They WILL COME ! In the THOUSANDS!!

    PERHAPS…..Build an ICE PALACE….as big as.The big Collosee that is in Florida. We must work

    and do and Pray to GOD in the CHURCH….as like the Priests in MONTREAL` are Praying for the

    HABATANTS de COURTIERS !! QUEBEC CITY…. WANTS, NEEDS and Will Receive Her Franchise

    if….we as a People will go to the Powers on Parliamant Hill and the Deep pocket men who will do well

    finantually AFTER thr QUEBEC CITY TEAMS’ BUILDING is Done…….THEN…..THEN ,Will QUEBEC

    CITYS’ Team Go High UP in their division!! SEE!

    .

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