SAN JOSE, Calif. – The NHL’s Board of Directors is going to decide before the NHL Awards on June 22 whether there will be expansion teams for Las Vegas and Quebec City.
While the Vegas bid is starting to take on a feeling of inevitability, one of the prominent voices behind the Quebec City group is telling fans that their bid is “not for tomorrow” and that the chances of landing a team in this round of expansion are “slim.”
"Eventually, we will have a team in Quebec, I think, but it will not be for tomorrow,” Quebecor chairman of the board Brian Mulroney told La Presse (translated).
The issue at the forefront is the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar. “For a team like Quebec, with the exchange rate, a deductible cost, depending on the day, between 650 and 750 million [Canadian]. While an American owner would pay $500 million. It presents challenges for us all,” he said.
But his comments have also fueled speculation that Quebec City is the NHL’s fallback position in the event one of its current franchises needs to relocate, which has been a badly kept secret for at least two years.
"You never really know, maybe suddenly a team may become available elsewhere. In the process of expansion, I feel that this is not for tomorrow,” said Mulroney.
The plight of the Arizona Coyotes has been well-documented. The Carolina Hurricanes have been mentioned as a potential portable franchise, especially now with owner Peter Karmanos being sued for $100 million by his three sons after he borrowed against their trust fund to support the Hurricanes, allegedly. But the team’s arena lease is solid, and the market is one the NHL values.
So it looks like Quebec City is out of this round of expansion, but that Quebecor remains hopeful that it’s not out of the running for an NHL team.
“[I said] Quebec would have a hockey team, but not tomorrow,” Mulroney said.
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