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Salt Lake City has a team in just three short months
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

In recent weeks, the Coyotes’ move to Salt Lake City has moved at almost dizzying speed. Almost overnight, Gary Bettman’s baby saw its future in Arizona threatened… at a relocation announcement.

Remember that “relocation” isn’t actually the right word (it’s the hockey assets that have been sold to Utah, but the Coyotes can return within five years and they retain their brand image), but in practice, the principle is much the same.

And if the fans thought it was done quickly, they weren’t the only ones: Ryan Smith, who owns this new team, also thought it was done quickly.

Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show today(and as you can read in this TVA Sports article), Smith chatted a bit about the process, and as he explains, it all happened in… three short months.

And in fact, it wasn’t until early March (around March 6, says Smith) that Gary Bettman approached him with the idea of becoming the Coyotes’ new home.

Smith and his group had publicly expressed their interest in early January, and three months later, they had secured an NHL team. Meanwhile, Quebec City has been publicly expressing interest for years and years… but to no avail.

The Coyotes’ case was special in that it would have required a reorganization of the conferences, which would have complicated matters… but at the same time, is it really such a big obstacle?

Remember that in the last few days, Bettman had stated that the arrival of a team in Salt Lake City would “not at all” mean the end for the Quebec City market… but obviously, the market doesn’t seem to be at the top of Bettman’s list of priorities.

The commissioner doesn’t want a government-owned team, so one wonders if the reason Quebec didn’t get its team is that no one is willing to put $1 billion (U.S.) on the table to bring a team to the province’s capital.

We’ll see what happens over the next few years, but obviously, when Bettman has a deal in mind and a wealthy owner lifts his hand, anything can happen very quickly.

It’s up to you to judge whether this is good or bad for Quebec City.

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