It is not necessary to light lanterns and swear for the return of the Nordiques, but Minister Eric Girard confirmed that he will meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the end of November in New York.
The one nicknamed the “minister of the Nordics” recently revealed that he intends to visit Bettman because he will already be in the Big Apple for the November 29 Bloomberg conference.
With the announcement of the arrival of the Kings at the Videotron Center, he noted that his wish will be fulfilled, without revealing more details about this second meeting between the two.
“I’ve seen Mr. Bettman and (Bill) Daly several times and the agenda is always the same: to remind people that Quebec has changed, that we have a dynamic economy, solid public finances, big business, hockey fans, major league infrastructure and we’d like to have a team. That if one day the opportunity arises, we will answer: now”, he indicated.
There is no other hand
Mr. Girard noted that there is currently no opportunity, either to expand the team or to sell, but that Quebec “is a hockey town and we want events.”
He also mentioned that he takes Geoff Molson at his word when the Canadiens owner promises to get behind Quebec if given the chance.
“I have no reason to doubt. The excitement that the presence of another team would generate would be important for hockey in Quebec, but also for the Montreal Canadiens,” he said.
According to the group of investors
Quebecor sports and entertainment group operations manager Martin Tremblay, for his part, reiterated the company’s interest in buying the team.
The latter also reminded that the value of franchises has increased drastically in recent years and that a partnership with other investors would be welcome.
“We were the only customers then. Would there be owner groups now? We’re seeing it all over the National League right now. There is interest, but the path to that could be different,” he summarized.
“We never resigned, but there is no expansion or relocation of the team. We have always shied away from making false promises to the people of Quebec. We know they have been disappointed in the past. However, we are a financially solid company and the interest still exists”, he added.
For his part, as president of the Los Angeles Kings and a former forward who played many times in Quebec, Luc Robitaille says he is confident the NHL is not mocking Quebec and is treating its interests seriously.
“Every time there are discussions, several cities come up and Quebec is always the city that is named,” assured one who was present at the table during the meetings of the NHL governors.
“I never forgot where I came from. Every time I am asked, I say that Quebec is an exceptional city. I remember playing against the Nordiques. It was always fun and the players loved coming here. If you ask me, I am always the person who will say that hockey here is special”, he added.