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Bettman mum on expansion, but Quebec City makes too much sense

Nov 26, 2013, 3:44 PM EDT

Nordiques Rally Hockey AP

NHL expansion to Quebec City is coming. Because, well, it just has to be.

No, maybe it’s not coming in the short term, as commissioner Gary Bettman maintained today. But in the next few years? Again, it just has to be. That, or a team relocates to Quebec City.


— Construction is already underway on a new 18,000-seat arena in Quebec City. It’s set to open in 2015.

— The NHL’s return to Winnipeg has been a fantastic success. According to Forbes, the Jets are the 16th-most valuable team in the league, despite playing in a market comparable in size to Quebec City and in an arena that barely seats 15,000.

— The NHL’s new Canadian TV deal makes TVA Sports the new home of all national French-language broadcasts. TVA Sports, in case you were wondering, is a subsidiary of Quebecor Media, a conglomerate that’s controlled by the very wealthy Pierre Karl Péladeau, who hasn’t exactly been secretive about his NHL ambitions.

— The Nordiques left for Colorado in 1995. But as the Conference Board of Canada points out, things have changed since then. Most notably, the Canadian dollar has risen to around parity with the U.S. dollar, and the NHL has a salary cap now.

Add it all up and young hockey fans who never got to experience the inter-provincial rivalry between the Nords and the Canadiens could be in for a treat.

And the NHL could be in for another windfall.

Related: Quebec City mayor remains optimistic about NHL return

  1. xdj511 - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Please no more expansion! Most teams have no reliable depth to draw on for injury replacements almost 15 years since the last expansion. Another two teams right now would just dilute the talent pool even more.

    • thailer35 - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Totally disagree. Look at all of the goaltender logjams alone.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        well ya, the position that occupies like 1/12th of a roster is gonna be pretty jammed up. forward, probably not so much. but as much as I’d like to see some new teams, I agree with xdj at the same time. then again, 1 whole season with 32 teams, we probably won’t even notice the reduced depth. wait, are they still doing that hybrid icing thing?

      • ibieiniid - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        wait! solution. and I believe this isn’t the first time this is my solution to something. Two goalies, double net.

    • joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      Stop dreaming. Expansion = increase HRR. Owners want more money, and there is money being left on the table. Think about a second team in Canada’s biggest market in Ontario, and then of course in Quebec.

  2. ruthlessandtoothless - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I hope they do it just for the sake of seeing that logo back

  3. jwalsh217 - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    just relocate teams portland, seattle, hamilton, quebec city would all make great cities for NHL teams

    • tdrusher225 - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      Absolutely! I wouldn’t mind expansion, but with the new TV deal bringing in all this money to the NHL, I’m seeing little reason not to put more teams in Canadian markets, or at least better US markets. As well as, subsequently, finding justification to relocate teams of the Phoenix, Dallas, Florida variety. I think any of those cities you mentioned (especially QC and Seattle) would be great spots. I would be so excited to finally see the NHL filled with quality markets that have invested fanbases.

      • kaptaanamerica - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:57 PM

        Oh yeah?! Maybe they should move Toronto their first… hate it when smug Canadians talk about moving franchises from places like Dallas. Get a f@ing clue. The Stars have built one of the biggest minor hockey programs in all of the USA.Texas has a lot of kids in hockey

      • tdrusher225 - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        First of all, I’m American. Second of all, Texas has the 3rd highest population in the US, of course they’ve got a lot of kids in hockey. They have a lot of kids in every sport. What does have to do with its NHL team? The fact is, despite being in one of the biggest sports markets in the country, Dallas can’t fill their own arena, no one watches them on TV, and is a financial joke. The only reason they have a team in the first place is so Bettman could try to compete with NBA markets. But newsflash for the both of you: Dallas doesn’t care about hockey!

      • comeonnowguys - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        I totally agree, there are a few southern teams–Dallas perhaps the best example–that have done well. Still, the league would be better off if most of them magically moved to more hockey-friendly markets.

  4. mikebel11 - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Just move the Panthers there. They’re already in the right division. I’m sure their 27 fans won’t miss them.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      I think it’s time. that showing last night was pathetic.

      • shaundre93 - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        Without a doubt. I bet that would also have a positive impact on the Lightning so it seems like a win win.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:11 PM

      I’ve said this a million times in here…

      But when a team makes the playoffs once since the 1999-2000 season, I don’t care what market your in, your going to have a hard time putting butts in seats. That’s Florida for you, hopefully with the new owner on board, he’s gonna pay for some decent players.

      Look at their season 2 years ago, they took the eventual eastern conference champion to game 7, overtime. The following year they sold 93.7% of the seats in one of the largest nhl arenas.

      Besides, their lease runs through 2027-28 season. I’m sure by then, we will have built a new arena or remodeled BB&T Center.

      • ryanrockzzz - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Moving the Panthers is always the first thing people say when it comes to perspective team to be moved.

        Only problem is it’s not happening, and doesn’t need to happen. Thanks for finally using some facts in a post!

  5. nickp91 - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    TVA Sports was going to be exclusive home to the new Quebec City team at one point.

  6. shortsxit34 - Nov 26, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    I absolutely hate the thought of expansion. All it does is dilute the skill of the pool of players. Are there really 50 players in the minors/junior that are skilled enough to the point that they should be in the NHL right now? We already have Scott taking up a spot.

    I think the better idea would be to contract to 28 teams so the conferences are even, then relocate all of the teams that are losing money. We would have even more skill in the league, and teams would be in cities that would actually appreciate them.

    • thenewraoulduke - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Maybe having Scott and players like him on an NHL roster has more to do with the fact that some teams are terribly run, not necessarily the talent pool.

  7. multiplemiggs - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Yea ok good luck Quebec lol. Seattle is next then Portland. Canada has too many teams and all Quebec fans care about is soccer. Sorry Frenchies.

    • joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      not a very smart remark…you obviously know little about Quebec.

    • cardsandbluesforever - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      Quebec City is building a brand new purpose built hockey arena even though they haven’t been guaranteed a team yet. if it turns out anything like the artists rendering it will be a beautiful arena- probably the best looking hockey venue around. Seattle, Portland? the team would be playing in an old converted basketball venue in either city. Quebec city has made the commitment with no promises and the other cities are expecting to just get handed a team without showing any commitment at all.

      Trust me when I say the next city that gets either an expansion team or a relocated team Quebec City will be first in line.

  8. skr213 - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    The conferences are already lopsided with the West two teams short. I can’t imagine them making it even more lopsided. I’d have to guess there are Western teams that are going to be expanded to first (Portland, Seattle??).

  9. multiplemiggs - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Dilute the talent pool? Seriously? So according to you guys, there are only 750 talented hockey players in the world?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      No Multi, there are thousands of talented players. NCAA, CHL, AHL, KHL all have talented players. But some of us feel a player should have to be excellent to play in what’s supposed to be the best league on Earth. And if the NHL ditched a couple of teams (at least) the few excellent players on the ditched teams would displace less talented players on the remaining teams, so the remaining teams would have a higher concentration of excellent players. Expansion necessarily has the opposite effect.

      • joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        Many had the same concerns when the league expanded from the original 6. So, we may see a delusion, but it’s also about developing players, and distributing talent across the NHL.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:13 AM

        Joey, I recall the Expansion Era, and for a while it was a joke. The 6 new teams each had a few castoffs and aging vets from the old 6, and a bunch of AHL guys. A handful were quite good, but the old East mostly had the new West for lunch, including 3 straight sweeps in the Cup finals. After a while, the NHL began tapping Europe, and after the Cold War ended, Russia. Where to look next, South America? Developing players takes time. “Distributing talent across the NHL” is also called diluting it. Some of us would rather watch games between teams that each have several terrific players than teams with just one or two, at most. That is one reason the Olympics are a treat. The better teams each have a dozen or more great players. Tends to make for great hockey.

  10. muckleflugga - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:57 PM


    as a canadian i apologize for being smug when it comes to hockey…it comes from having to live with eight months of winter

    still prefer playing summer hockey…putting on dry warm equipment is a big plus

    having traveled through texas, i have always found the people friendly and gracious to visitors

    i can see the game taking off in texas, chillin’ at the rink and out of the sun for a few hours, can’t beat it

  11. critter69 - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    ‘joey4id’ is correct – for the 1967-68 season, the NFL expanded from 6 teams to 12.

    That was a 50% (or more) dilution of talent (except it wasn’t, as teams could protect players, and the practice continued for each additional expansion after that. Same in the NFL, NBA and MLB).

    And when the Cleveland Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars (now Dallas Stars), the merger didn’t really help the North Stars, as they eventually picked up and moved to Dallas (not exactly in the ‘hockey belt’).

  12. blomfeld - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    “Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest” … Napoleon Bonaparte

    Mark my words friends … within three years Quebec City (New France) along with Seattle and Portland (western outposts) will be awarded brand new NHL franchises … no two ways about it …

    • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 8:08 AM

      Blom, don’t you DARE say two great American cities are part of New France! that’s ‘merican blasphemy!

      • blomfeld - Nov 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Friend … please remember that prior to the Seven Years War (1756-1763) New France included most of North America from Quebec City through to the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. Only a small area of the continent in the northeast was under British control (ie: Boston, NY, Virginia, the Carolinas, etc). Both Seattle and Portland were under ‘indigenous’ control at that time, as the Spanish had little appetite for the colder climates in the Pacific Northwest.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        last I checked, pre-‘Mericans won that war! PRE-‘MERICA!

  13. nhstateline - Nov 27, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    The NHL could easily have six more teams ten years from now. The current 16 -14 conference split makes very little sense and adding this many teams would fix that plus put big coin in the owners pockets. And there are six markets that don’t have NHL teams that could easily support one. I’d suggest adding the following: West: Portland, Houston, Seattle, choice of Regina/Saskatoon or Kansas City East: Toronto, Quebec City. The only city I have any question about the ability to support a team that’s on this list is KC and I bet it could. Otherwise, this would add three teams in hockey mad Canada, two in really big US markets and a third in a fast growing one. You can take the logic of the piece on Quebec above and just push it out to this.

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