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Kings in Quebec City: project could hinder the return of a team to the capital
Credit: He enjoyed success with the Kings.

This week, the subject of the major public subsidy ($5-7 million) to attract the Kings’ training camp to Quebec City next fall caused a ton of reaction. With the public sector in collective bargaining, the timing of the announcement made it hard for many to swallow.

There was also the principle behind the decision (giving money to the Kings for preparatory games) which didn’t go down well, but let’s just say that the timing amplified the whole thing.

In Quebec City, the project is divisive, but elsewhere in the province, the reaction is overwhelmingly negative. In Montreal (both the CH and the media, other than Quebecor), for example, it’s not going over well.

Martin Leclerc (Radio-Canada), for example, is among those who strongly disagree with the decision… and in his piece of the day, he even went so far as to wonder whether the Kings’ project in Quebec City might not actually hinder the return of a full-time team to the capital.

In fact, he recounts a discussion he had with Marc-Antoine Godin on today’s episode of the Tellement hockey podcast, when the latter wondered how Quebec intends to earn credibility if the government has to stretch out substantial public funds to hold preparatory games.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it?

But Leclerc also makes an interesting point: considering that social acceptability is currently quite low, what message would be sent to the NHL if Centre Vidéotron were to be sparsely filled for these two games?

And when you look at the current state of the sale, you’d think it’s a possibility. Sure, it’s early days, but there are a ton of tickets still available.

As time goes by, I expect to see a certain craze created… but how far will this craze reach? After all, we’re talking about preparatory matches between teams towards which Quebec doesn’t necessarily have a huge sense of belonging, and when you see all the criticism flying from both sides, you have to wonder if the craze won’t be capped.

Given that Quebecers have already paid for these games with their taxes, I imagine that many of them won’t want to pay out of pocket for tickets. At least Éric Girard (who may have closed some doors at the federal level in the last few days) will be paying for his…

Imagine if, in the end, the investment of millions in public money ended up beingself-sabotage for the return of a team to Quebec City.

No, that wouldn’t really help social acceptability.

In brief

– Arber Xhekaj’s mother is reassuring about her son’s state of health.

– Patrick Kane: Pierre LeBrun says he could sign within the next seven days. [BPM Sports]

– That’s right. The days of workaholics as starting goaltenders may be over.

– Mike Hoffman admits: the only reason he signed with Montreal was for the money.

– A kid once told Wayne Gretzky how to properly hold a hockey stick. [HF]

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