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Nordiques: Quebec should take inspiration from Salt Lake City, the Habs and Jean Trudel
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
A whole week of Nordiques comebacks!

Whether you believe it or not, I felt like I was in a full season of The Young and the Restless. First, we were treated to the unveiling of the Coyotes’ current owners’ plan to create an entertainment district in Scottsdale… only to be turned around by the city’s mayor.

Shortly afterwards, we learned that the NHL was preparing its 2024-2025 schedule with the possibility of transferring the Arizona franchise to Salt Lake. Will the father of the NHL family, Gary Bettman, be able to marry off his complicated child through a much more advantageous economic alliance?

To complete the love triangle, 200 die-hard Gauls made a trip to New York to remind the NHL patriarch that Quebec still exists and that they are ready to consummate the marriage with the NHL. There’s no question of settling for the incestuous plan, like an episode of Game of Thrones with his Montreal cousin, through regular-season CH games in Quebec City. Cousin, who publicly wishes the NHL marriage pretender good luck…

Yeah, right…

The truth is, Quebec City will have to draw on a bit of all this to get where it’s going. Right now, the city has (literally) a great amphitheater, albeit in a remote corner. What’s more, everyone agrees that it will cost between $1 and $2 billion to bring a team back to the Nation’s Capital. Difficult, yes, but not impossible!

We need to take inspiration from others to get there. That means :

1. Accept that the majority owner will not be a Quebecer
Despite his wealth, PKP will never be an NHL governor. With the purchase of Freedom Mobile, Quebecor’s cash flow has taken a major hit, not to mention the “aggressive” management style of the Quebec empire’s majority shareholder.

Perhaps the solution lies in bringing in an American shareholder…

But why exclude Saudi interests? In recent years, they have invested tens of billions of dollars in sport: F1, professional soccer and golf are just a few examples. The dollars are there, and are available if an opportunity arises.

2. Learn from your competitors
Last February, Utah state government authorities authorized Salt Lake City to implement a downtown revitalization plan through deregulation, granting new taxing powers.

Without wanting to impose a new tax, Quebec City could put in place regulations to encourage the construction of major residential and entertainment development. A bit like Geoff Molson with the Habs condo towers that have sprung up like mushrooms in recent years.

The goal would be to finance the Nordiques’ comeback project across Quebec Inc. I’d add another layer of inspiration with what Montreal’s new Royalmount district is doing for an area of Montreal that needed some love. Just as the Centre Vidéotron is in need of love right now…

3. Jean “9millions” Trudel and government aid
Inepisode 9 of the Stanley 25 podcast, JT shared his disappointment at Loto-Québec’s failure to create a gaming lounge in the Bell Centre’s 1909 tavern. Indeed, on September 19, 2023, the project was abandoned by Loto-Québec after an unfavorable, but non-binding, opinion from Montreal’s public health department. And probably a little pressure from certain stakeholders/journalists…

At the same time, the latter highlighted a problem at the Centre Bell, which is keeping fans after the game, and that’s because there’s a lack of “happening” offerings in this sector of downtown Montreal.

For both the Centre Bell and the Centre Vidéotron (if ever), it’s inevitable that such projects will be back on the agenda. The Quebec government will have to give in sooner or later, because the gambling market is heading in this direction, and Loto-Québec’s monopoly won’t be able to resist.

Let’s not forget that the government has asked Loto-Québec to increase its revenues, which could help professional sports in our province.

With a deficit of $11 billion, direct government assistance is out of the question. However, with the construction of a gaming hall on the Centre Vidéotron site, government investment would be much more justified and profitable!

JT, Québec thanks you for your idea!

In conclusion, it’s like in the NHL playoffs: you can always hope, even dream. However, just like when the Habs qualified eighth to make the playoffs and were eliminated nine days later, I have very little hope of seeing this project come to fruition. It remains more of a dream than anything else.

Am I a pessimist or a realist? Do you still believe in the Nordiques’ comeback?

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