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Patrick Roy and Quebec City’s NHL dream

Quebec Remparts coach, GM and part-owner Patrick Roy (The Canadian Press)One would have to be living under a rock to ignore the clamour for Patrick Roy to be the next coach of the Montreal Canadiens — but being aware of it is not licence to add to speculation without having an insight into it. That being said, it is worth highlighting the other Roy-to-the-NHL rumour that's fairly topical since since his home city just committed to building a new arena to be ready for 2015. (This may be read as part of a more ambitious dream to host the Winter Olympics, the lack of a suitable ski slope be damned.)

There is reason to believe that if Quebec City ever got back in the NHL, Roy would be part of it, leaving his post with the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts. It's that simple, save for what would happen to the Remparts franchise. The junior game has only flourished in the provincial capital.

From Steve Simmons:

It's highly unlikely Patrick Roy will end up involved with the Montreal Canadians in any capacity. What's more likely is Roy's waiting for the Phoenix Coyotes to move to Quebec, where he'll take over as either coach, general manager or both. Word is, Roy has unofficially been on retainer from Quebec NHL interests for almost two years now. (Toronto Sun)

This is a junior hockey blog, not a NHL one, so questions about where the Phoenix Coyotes will play after this season are best answered by someone else. The timing of Quebec City's announcement, in which the city and the debt-ridden province committed to pay $400 million (plus cost overruns, in a province where there is the occasional construction strike) to build an arena for billionaire Pierre-Karl Péladeau was curious.

(Far be it to wonder how Péladeau suffers no cognitive impairment from insisting his media outlets call CBC "the state broadcaster" while twisting two other levels of government's collective arm to build a puck palace for him. The very rich are different from you and me.)

Either Quebec City, which is also upgrading Colisée Pepsi so it could serve as a temporary home to a NHL franchise, is showing it could be a destination for the Coyotes. Or it's given the NHL leverage as it tries to get Glendale, Ariz., to foot the bill for the orphans of winter for another season.

As for Roy, he has played down the Canadiens rumours while guiding the Remparts in the QMJHL playoffs. It's even easier for him to ignore this one, insofar as said team doesn't exist. It's an intriguing one, to say the least.

Meantime, would Quebec City, with a metro population of 765,000, be able to support a NHL and major junior team, as Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver each do? Or would it put all the eggs in the big-league basket like Winnipeg, where the Western Hockey League would like to have a team eventually?

A short answer is the Remparts probably carry on, but their revenue streams would probably dry up a bit and that would give them less clout as the QMJHL's power franchise. Not having Roy would also steal a lot of sizzle from the league. The team probably could survive. Quebec City has grown substantially and it's shown itself to be a superb sports city. The original Remparts franchise co-existed alongside the Nordiques for 13 seasons before folding in 1985 and the current iteration didn't re-appear until after the Nordiques had left, but times have changed. Let's just say the prospect of the Remparts losing their market share and Roy is probably something to be nervous about, which is why it's tough to discuss.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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