The Kings will use this stretch of their next training camp in the capital to play two games, on October 3rd and 5th, against the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.
The announcement that formalized the arrival of the Californian club was announced on Tuesday morning by their president from Quebec, Luc Robitaille, in the company of the Minister responsible for Capitale-Nationale Jonatan Julien, the Minister of Finance and Nordiques Eric Girard and the chief operating officer of the Quebec group for sports and entertainment, Martin Tremblay.
At least $5 million from Quebec
The Quebec government’s financial contribution to make this event possible is $5 million, up to $7 million, a subsidy that Minister Girard had to defend during a press briefing. Unable to quantify the expected economic benefit, the latter estimated the incurred costs at 9 or 10 million dollars.
“You think that the subsidy is disproportionate, but I have the benefit of seeing all the subsidies that the government gives to sports and cultural events and I can confirm that we are in the right order of magnitude,” argued Mr. Girard, who will meet in New York on November 29 with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
It is not connected to the tram
We must not connect this announcement with the thorny issue of the tram, insisted Minister Jonatan Julien. “It has nothing to do with it,” simply said the minister responsible for the region. This post was not planned last week. Eric has been working on this for a while and talked to me about it. It was well organized and it doesn’t matter. »
The head of Québec Solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, condemned the government’s contribution to the Gestev company, urging the minister to reconsider his “sense of priorities” instead of giving up to $7 million to “National League millionaires.”
“CAQ is passing the buck to the NHL, not the people who are fighting. »
— Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois
An initiative from Quebec
Minister Girard, described by Quebecor as the “initiator” of this king’s visit to Quebec, recalled the importance of the Videotron Center as an “exceptional infrastructure” that should be used.
Although it admits that there is no expansion in sight and that there are no teams for sale in the NHL, the government still wants to occupy the amphitheater on Wilfrid-Hamel Boulevard. “We have to take advantage of it,” Mr. Girard said, citing major events such as the World Junior, Senior and Women’s Hockey Championships and NHL regular-season games.
Good attendance during these two warm-up games would send a “message” about Quebecers’ passion for hockey, according to Quebecor’s Martin Tremblay.
Not a “test”
Even if there were only 9,248 spectators in 2017 during the Boston Bruins’ last road trip, ers in 2017, the Quebecor representative dreams of a “full to bursting” Videotron Center a week before the start of the 2024-25 regular season.
“For me, people in Quebec no longer have tests to take,” he said when asked about the meaning of the response from hockey fans in the region.
“Maybe in the past they felt like they were tested, but for me that’s behind us. We know the passion of people in Quebec for hockey and there are no more demonstrations. »
— Martin Tremblay, chief operating officer of sports and entertainment group Quebecora
Quebecor remains interested in the NHL
The telecommunications company’s executives may have been discreet about the National Hockey League in recent years, but “private steps” have been taken in that direction, Martin Tremblay insisted.
“We have never given up on the idea of being the owner, in whole or in part, of the team,” he pointed out, emphasizing the solidity of the company’s finances. The price has evolved, but Quebecor still has an interest in being part of the National League. There is no opportunity and that is why we do not declare. We stay away from false promises. »
Martin Tremblay is delighted to see the finance minister send the same message to NHL authorities. “It’s only good for the market.” To communicate that Quebec’s economy has changed, these are messages that make sense. »
Because of the poutine
Luc Robitaille, whose chairmanship of the California team made this visit to his home state possible, was looking for a neutral location to hold part of his upcoming training camp.
After Australia, China, Germany and Sweden in the past years, the context was favorable for Quebec because next season training will probably start in the east of the continent.
“I wanted to eat real poutine!” » joked the former forward, not being able to explain why Quebec still hasn’t returned to the NHL. The latter, who has several members of his family in Princeville.
Tickets between $55 and $170
Mayor Bruno Marchand was absent during the announcement due to his participation as a speaker at the Philanthropic Culture Summit held at the Convention Center.
Tickets for both games will go on sale on Friday, November 17, at 10 a.m. Unit prices for 7,000 tickets will vary between $55 and $170. The organizers are also planning training sessions open to the public.
The last NHL preseason game at the Videotron Center dates back to September 20, 2018, as part of a matchup between the Canadiens and the Washington Capitals. CH then defeated the Russian team of Alexander Ovechkin with a score of 5 to 2 in front of 11,296 spectators.