NHL commissioner Gary Bettman met with Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard earlier this month to reportedly discuss the possibility of having NHL hockey in the province's capital of Quebec City and... well Bettman shot them down report TSN.
It appears that Legault's dream of bringing another NHL team back to La Belle Province is over.
Legault has been vocal about his insistence that the NHL belongs in Quebec City as of late and he has apparently drawn the interest of Bettman and the NHL's executives.
"I tell myself that if Ottawa and Winnipeg are able to have a team, we should be able to have a team in Quebec."
- Francois Legault
Bettman, who called the meeting cordial, explains in a statement that while the NHL is appreciative of the Quebec government's interest, that the interest is not mutual and that the league will not be moving forward with any plans to either relocate or expand to Quebec City anytime soon.
"We explained that, while we were appreciative and flattered by the interest expressed, unfortunately, we were not aware of any opportunity that could address that interest at the current time."
"We appreciate that the lines of communication between the parties have been refreshed, and we agreed to stay in touch with each other as circumstances warrant going forward.”
- Gary Bettman
To be honest I'm not really surprised by this development. As bad a state as the Arizona Coyotes are in and as much as the NHL has been expanding in recent years, it's been clear for over a decade now that Quebec City isn't really on the NHL's radar. Videotron Centre, the 18,000 capacity arena built in 2015 to attract an NHL team, has failed to increase interest from Bettman and the league's executive staff. Since then the NHL has introduced both the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken as expansion teams and there have been rumblings about potentially relocating the eternally struggling Coyotes to either Kansas City, MO or Houston, TX... but never Quebec City. So... what gives?
Will the NHL ever re-consider Quebec City as a legitimate market? Honestly, I think the NHL has only ever been using the threat of relocation to Quebec City in leverage for existing teams, the fact of the matter is that there are very few new hockey fans to be converted in the province of Quebec as opposed to new markets like Vegas, Seattle, Houston and Kansas City. After all, money is what drives the NHL over anything else.