The Los Angeles Kings confirmed the news of the newspaper and will hold the end of its training camp at the Videotron Center in October 2024. The Quebec government has played the role of initiator by granting a subsidy currently estimated between 5 and 7 million to facilitate the arrival of the team in Quebec.
The Kings will be in attendance from October 2-6, with preseason games on the 3rd against the Boston Bruins and the 5th against the Florida Panthers.
The details were revealed at the Videotron Center in the presence of Kings president, Luc Robitaille, Minister of Finance (and Minister of the Nordiques band), Eric Girard, Minister responsible for Capitale-Nationale, Jonatan Julien, as well as Chief Operating Officer of Quebecor’s Sports and Entertainment Group, Martin Tremblay.
“We had a chance to come here and we will probably start the season a few days later in the East. It is an opportunity for our players to come and finish training here, in the city of hockey, and see this atmosphere. That is what motivated our decision,” said Robitaille.
Minister Girard quickly found himself in the spotlight by revealing that his government was providing a subsidy estimated at 5 million “to facilitate the event” which, according to the contract, could be increased to a maximum of 7 million.
“We are moving three teams from the National League. There will be all kinds of activities around that,” the minister first hinted at the press briefing, before continuing his thinking.
“I have had the opportunity to see all the subsidies that the government gives for sports and cultural events, and I can confirm that we are in the right order of magnitude,” assured Mr. Girard, citing other subsidized events such as the Memorial Cup, Presidents Cup (PGA) and Formula 1 in Montreal.
In his eyes, the Videotron Center is an “exceptional infrastructure” that must stand out alongside the presentation of other major sporting events.
“Yes, one day we would like to have an NHL team back, but until then we would like to have other big events like the World Junior Hockey Championship, Women’s World Hockey Championship, Senior Hockey World Championship, NHL regular season games- and other trainings”, said the minister.
There are no messages
For Martin Tremblay, the arrival of the Kings with two preseason games is not a message to send to the NHL to once again launch a campaign to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec.
“People in Quebec no longer have tests to take. For me, it’s behind us – he said. We know the passion of people in Quebec for hockey and there are no more demonstrations. That said, it will be a celebration for hockey and, yes, having the Videotron Center filled to capacity for two games sends a good message.”
It remains to be seen how much the fans will respond to the matches, whose price range will vary between 55 and 170 dollars. More than 40% of tickets on sale Friday (10 a.m.) will be available for $85 or less.
The last NHL preseason games presented at the Videotron Center in 2017 and 2018 followed the league’s decision not to grant Quebec an expansion club. Crowds of just over 9,000 and 11,000 were quite disappointing.
“At that time there was a context in which we were closer to a certain disappointment. Things have changed and people are tired of watching NHL hockey. Complete teams will come to us. People have had time to get bored with professional hockey,” Mr. Tremblay asserted.
WHAT THEY SAID…
“CAQ is passing the buck to the NHL, not the people who are fighting. Yes, I love hockey. But not at this price. »
– Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire
“Meanwhile, the CAQ is terminating the ESSENTIAL Regional Air Service Maintenance Assistance Program. These are very similar amounts. The government pays for the kings’ trip to Quebec, but cuts the wings of regional air transport. I am speechless. »
– Joël Arseneau, PQ representative for Îles-de-la-Madeleine
“I love hockey, I’m happy that NHL teams come to play in Quebec. But to allocate 5 to 7 million kunas from taxpayers for that? While we are told that there is no more money for adequate treatment of teachers, nurses, (…) that food banks and social organizations are running out of resources? »
– Pascal Paradis, PQ MP for Jean-Talon
– In collaboration with Marc-André Gagnon, Parliamentary Office