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Gretzky: NHL’s return to Quebec City ‘only a matter of time’

Jun 18, 2013, 10:23 PM EDT

gretzkygetty Getty Images

It’s no secret that Quebec City wants an NHL franchise, but it looks like hockey’s return to Quebec’s capital isn’t imminent.

It’s still possible that the Phoenix Coyotes will have to move, but recent reports suggest that Seattle might be the alternative destination for the franchise.

Regardless of what happens with the Coyotes, Wayne Gretzky remains confident that there will be an NHL franchise in Quebec City — eventually.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before Quebec City is going to get a franchise,” Gretzky said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “Listen, I think we all agree it’s a good city and it can support an NHL team, especially now with the salary cap rules and the parity we have in the game of hockey.

“When that’s going to be, it’s anybody’s guess but when they do come back in, it’s going to be a strong, solid franchise just like Winnipeg is now and it will be as successful as they are.”

Gretzky is the former head coach and part-owner of the Coyotes, but don’t assume he’s trying to share some insider information between the lines, because by his own admission he doesn’t have any on the subject.

“Honestly, I’ve not followed it at all,” he said. “I don’t live in Arizona anymore and you probably know more about it than I do.

“I’d be just guessing if I said anything . . . and probably so would you.”

He also still believes hockey can work in Glendale.

“Hopefully they get the right owner that can go in there and keep that franchise in Phoenix,” Gretzky said.

Crosby backs NHL expansion: ‘Quebec City is the one that sticks out for sure’

  1. jcmeyer10 - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    I’m going to this guy for my tarot card readings. He’s really going out on a limb here.

  2. leiterfelixleiter - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Yes, hockey in Winnipeg is thriving (two years after they got a team again). Let’s see how it’s doing in 10 years when they still suck.

  3. dropthepuckeh - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    All the games I’ve seen (on tv) in Winnipeg look insane. The crowd is nuts, imagine when they do have a successful team? NHL Hockey in Quebec City has to happen again ASAP. Hard to justify not having a team in such a passionate hockey region while there are American cities that can’t support half the crowd.

  4. rushledger - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    I agree Winnipeg is thriving, but that is an interesting thought how’s it do in four five years, even further if they’re still bad? This was a easy year to make the playoffs being in the southeast division, now they go to a much tougher division. Nashville, Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis, are all better teams than the jets, Dallas might be worse but not for much longer.

    • tmoore4075 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Based off this years point totals they actually make the playoffs under the new playoff format for next year. I’m not counting Detroit or CBJ in those standings. They would have finished 4th in the division and been ahead of the 5th placed team in the Pacific. Might actually be easier to make it since you don’t have to worry about other division(s) as much.

  5. matt14gg - Jun 19, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Not sure how many people remember the Nordiques, but hockey in Quebec City is special. It was always a different experience than most other cities. The crowds were very polite and very quiet (at Le Colise’) and then all of a sudden something would happen and the place would go bananas. It’s a great hockey city and absolutely should be represented in the NHL.

  6. jimthebear - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    I hope they bring back the Nordiques name, like they did with the Jets.. Always LOVED it when they came to Boston.. The Stastney brothers were the first pair, long before the women up in Vancouver. They were tough, class acts, and represented the sport well, again, unlike the Sedin sisters… The royal blue uniforms were classy… Quebec deserves another chance. I realize Denver is a much bigger city, and it was convenient, but how can Phoenix or Nashville retain a team when Quebec City can’t?

    • grilledjesus - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Loved the Stastnys, an entire forward line from one family, and classy too.

      Nashville has actually been drawing well, Phoenix is a failed experiment, and besides the strike shortened year with tickets and food for next to nothing this year Miami is a crappy fanbase. One of those two teams needs to get to QC.

    • kingcobraman - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      you are very immature calling the sedins women…

      • jimthebear - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        2 Girls, No Cup!

  7. Habib Marwan - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    the attendance thrived in both atlanta and nashville for the first few seasons too and then look what happened when they couldnt make the playoffs in a league where 90% of it’s teams do make the playoffs

    • grilledjesus - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      Nash 09-10 at 87.5% capacity, ahead of CBJ, Car, Fla, TB, NTI, Col, Atl, and Phx
      Nash 10-11 at 94.3% capacity, ahead of Car, TB, Ana, NJ, Col, Fla, Dal, CBJ, Atl, Phx, and NYI
      Nash 11-12 at 97.5% capacity, ahead of TB, NJ, Fla, Ana, Col, Car, NYI, CBJ, Dal, and Phx
      Nash 12-13 at 99.2% capacity, ahead of TB, NJ, Was, Car, Ana, Dal, StL, Col, NYI, Phx, and CBJ

      Looks like other teams should move before Nashville

      • Habib Marwan - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        narfmoo, (what a gay screen name btw) go check out the attendance stats of the preds and thrashers for the first 3 years then get back to me lil feller and i agree grilledjesus , nashville is staying put

    • narfmoo12 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      You post the dumbest and most incorrect statements every day. Please just stop. Also, a higher percentage of teams in the NBA make the playoffs than the NHL.

      • rupertslander - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        Last time I checked, both leagues had 30 teams and both leagues had 16 team playoff brackets. How exactly does that result in “a higher percentage of teams in the NBA mak(ing) the playoffs than the NHL” narfmoo12?

  8. rupertslander - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    There is one plausible, business-related argument for going to Seattle as opposed to Quebec, and it has to do with Quebec’s would-be owner being a public company. Seattle’s ownership group is said to be offering $220M, and this when Winnipeg two years ago paid $170M including relocation fees to move to an NHL-ready building. With the new CBA, Quebecor COULD probably justify spending $220M on an NHL franchise IF its new building was ready, but it isn’t. Granted, Seattle’s current building is far worse, but their owners won’t have to defend spending $220M for the privilege of losing another $100M in an antiquated barn to stockholders. Quebecor would probably lose only half that over two years in Le Colisee – but for a public company, it’s still way too much.

    • chrisc100191 - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      Alright, I’m tired of hearing people argue that if Phoenix moves they should move to Quebec. Not going to happen. Why? Pretty simple. The answer is realignment.

      The NHL is realigning the conferences next year and if you actually look at the map you will realize why Seattle is Plan B and not Quebec. If Phoenix has to move they will be moved within their conference (and time zone) – in other words – to Seattle. This not only keeps realignment in tact, but at this late point in the game (the schedule is already being held up by a Phoenix resolution) it just makes sense. Additionally, the Western Conferences are already unequally smaller that the Eastern conferences (7 per Western conference, 8 in the East). So realistically, it makes no sense whatsoever for a western team to move to the East.

      Bearing that in mind, Quebec should look at the Florida Panthers and ask themselves this: why would the NHL create a conference with 6 teams in close proximity to each other: Toronto, Buffalo, Boston, Montreal, Detroit, Ottawa and then toss the two Florida teams in there? They could have added the Rangers and Islanders and put the Florida teams in a conference with the other southern teams which would be closer but they did not. Realistically, Quebec should be watching the situation in Ft. Lauderdale….because when they get a team it will likely be the Panthers.

      FYI:http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1567483-nhl-realignment-2013-14-new-division-map-and-playoff-format

      • grilledjesus - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        While that is a very well thought out post, the one thing I don’t agree with is where the FL teams were put. They were lumped in this division to keep the largest amount of rivalries together so teams can make the most amount of money. The two FL teams were always going to be kept together, as the PA teams were, and the NY/NJ teams. When the music stopped there was really only one place for them, and that was Group C.

        Other than that, rock solid reasoning.

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