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Games in Quebec City: the CH raised its hand to play for free (unlike the Kings)
There was some big hockey news in Quebec this morning, as we learned that the Los Angeles Kings will be coming to Quebec City for two preparatory games. First, the Bruins will be in town on October 3, 2024, followed by the Panthers two days later.

This was great news for a city that will once again have the opportunity to prove that it deserves to host major hockey events.

But then it became clear that this was a costly announcement, and I mean that in the first degree: the provincial government paid several million dollars to lure the Kings to town during their preparatory schedule.

With so many people in Quebec having to tighten their belts, it’s understandably hard to swallow that so much public money was spent on two hockey games (preparatory ones, no less).

But hey, some just assumed that was the price of hosting two games outside of one of the NHL’s 32 markets. It’s a big expense, sure, but “that’s the price you pay” for having sporting events in Quebec City.

Except that…

According to Alexandre Pratt (La Presse) tonight, there was another option on the table for hosting NHL hockey in the capital: the CH had also raised its hand to play a game in Quebec City.

What was the cost in public funds to make it happen? $0.

That’s right. Not a single dollar of public money.

So, in the end, the government is going to pay $5 million (and maybe even more) to three foreign owners who aren’t exactly short of cash to host two NHL games, when it might not have had to pay a single dollar to host a CH game.

France Margaret Bélanger, who was behind the project, notes that the club wanted to rent the Centre Vidéotron and be its own promoter. Not a single taxpayer dollar would have been needed to make it all happen.

So who is to blame for this decision, which is going to go right down a lot of people’s throats? According to Groupe CH’s President (Sports and Entertainment), the refusal came from Gestev, the Quebecor subsidiary that manages the Centre Vidéotron.

So, in the end, it’s because of a Quebecor subsidiary’s decision that the government ends up paying millions of dollars in public money to American team owners. And I have to tell you, it lifts my heart.

I almost hope there’s another reason for this decision that isn’t mentioned, because right now, everyone looks bad.

And, in fact, everyone looks even worse when you learn that, in the past, the CH had to pay for the opposing team when they hosted a game in Quebec City, even though they didn’t get a penny. I’m not saying I’d have wanted the government to give millions to the Tricolore, far from it, but something’s not right here.

If the Canadiens’ project was turned down for the simple reason that Quebecor didn’t want to host the CH in the Centre Vidéotron, that’s pretty ordinary. I’d like to think otherwise, but the combination of all these elements makes me think it’s absurd to dismiss this theory.

Because at $5 million in public money, the rivalry (between two private groups) takes on disproportionate proportions.

I really invite you to read Alexandre Pratt’s text on this subject (which I’m reposting HERE). He also raises the excellent point that many of the province’s sports centers are waiting for money that isn’t forthcoming to renovate their facilities and allow Quebecers to enjoy them.

Did I mention that this whole thing stinks to high heaven?

In short

– Great read on Pierre Turgeon.

– Good listening.

– Filip Mesar’s mentality has changed this year.

– Antoine Roussel likes what he sees of Juraj Slafkovský. [98,5 Sports]

– The same goes for Stéphane Waite, by the way.

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