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Salt Lake City is “by no means the end for Quebec”, says Gary Bettman
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

In recent days, the subject of the Coyotes’ move has been the talk of the hockey world. We know that the Arizona team was Gary Bettman’s baby, and to see him finally ready to give up (at least temporarily) on the project clearly shows that it was no longer sustainable.

It’s a real shame for the fans in the desert, really. That said, the situation needed a change, and quickly.

In the end, the team moved to Salt Lake City. The league wants to take its chances in the Utah market, and with Ryan Smith, we feel we’ve found an owner with solid backing.

The question now is what this means for other markets still waiting for their chance, like Quebec City.

Bettman was reassuring that the move to Salt Lake City does not mean the end of hopes for the return of a team to Quebec City, as he told Guillaume Lefrançois (La Presse).

In fact, Bettman says he’s open to any project that’s “initiatory, bold, committed and doesn’t beat around the bush”. He simply wants to talk to people who have the resources at their disposal, and if the conditions are right, he’s ready to work with anyone…

But not just anyone, either.

While he’s not closing the door on the Quebec City market, there’s one possibility Bettman is closing the door on: having the Quebec government own an NHL team.

Basically, it would have to go through a private investor. Bettman is ready to talk to Quebec’s elected officials whenever they want, but he doesn’t want anything to do with a government-owned team.

Of course, you’re free to believe or not that he’s keeping the door open for a team to return to Quebec City (I don’t believe it for a second, personally), but the official version is that he remains open to the possibility.

So we’ll see what the next few years hold in store for the Quebec City market… but even if Bettman says the right things, I have my doubts as to whether he’s really interested in expansion or relocation.

In gossip

– Connor Bedard confirms he will represent Canada in the coming weeks.

– It’ll be one to watch.

– Amazing.

– Jean-Gabriel Pageau is not guaranteed to play tonight.

– It’s not ideal.

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