“It’s time” for the NHL to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec, says Legault


Prime Minister François Legault hopes NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will come to Los Angeles Kings games in Quebec and believes it is “time” for the latter to say yes to the return of the Nordiques.

“It’s time for the National League to agree to give the franchise (to Quebec), so the Nordiques come back,” the prime minister said in response to questions from reporters on the sidelines of the tour in Gaspésie.

“I don’t know if you know this, but the people of Quebec, they would like to have a hockey team, they would like the Quebec Nordiques to come back,” stressed Mr. Legault, defending his government’s decision to grant a subsidy of 5 to 7 million dollars to promoter Gestev to bring the Los Angeles Kings to the Videotron Center for one week in October 2024.

“We hope that Mr. Bettman will come to visit us during these games“there,” added the prime minister.

Goal

“What is wanted” by investing public funds in this event, explained Mr. Legault, is to show the teams that will come to play in Quebec for this opportunity, namely the Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers, as well as Gary Bettman, that Quebec has “(…) a world-class amphitheater”, ready to host an NHL team.

Last Tuesday, during a press conference with Kings president Luc Robitaille and promoter Gestev, the finance minister, Eric Girard, nevertheless stated that “there is no signal for the national league” between this “hockey week” offered to the people of Quebec and the possible return of the Nordiques.

“There’s no expansion right now, no team for sale, but we’re a hockey town and we want to have events,” Mr. Girard summed up when asked if the Kings’ visit was another test for the Quebec market against the NHL.

“Petty politics”

François Legault took the opportunity on Friday to criticize the unions and opposition parties, who are fiercely criticizing the subsidy granted to host the Los Angeles Kings in Quebec.

“There are some who play petty politics, saying: “Why don’t you give it as a salary increase”. We are not talking about the same amounts,” complained the head of the CAQ.

According to him, if his government were to accept the union’s demands, it would cost “three billion seven hundred million more”.

“The ability of Quebec taxpayers to pay is limited. There is no question of raising taxes,” he insisted.

As for the subsidies to bring in the Kings, “it’s also important to invest in leisure, whether it’s sports, whether it’s culture,” Mr. Legault insisted.

Several CAQ elected officials, however, acknowledged as of Tuesday that the chosen timing for the announcement may not be ideal in the current difficult economic context. This is especially the case with ministers Bernard Drainville and Andrée Laforest and deputies Yannick Gagnon and Kariane Bourassa.





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