Quebec City Announces Plans for Arena
Quebec City Mayor Mayor Regis Labeaume and Quebec Premier Jean Charest told a crowded news conference that the project will go ahead with a 50-50 funding arrangement between the province and city, up to a maximum of $400 million.
Charest said the Canadian government and the private sector would be welcomed investors but their absence from the funding agreement does not mean the project will not proceed.
The provincial capital played host to the Quebec Nordiques from 1972-1995 when the team relocated to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche.
The NHL has no immediate plans to expand but there are a number of franchises in trouble, including the league-owner Phoenix Coyotes and the Atlanta Thrashers.
Winnipeg is seen as a destination point should the sale of the Coyotes falls through, and Quebec City is seen as a prime location if the Thrashers fail to resolve their fiscal issues and have to move.
At the All-Star Game last weekend, NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman repeated his position that a new building alone does not guarantee a franchise, although failure to get a new rink guarantees the NHL won't be back.
"We tell people who are building buildings, don't build it with the expectation you're going to have a team because we're not going to make you that promise," Bettman told The Canadian Press late last month.
Also noticeably absent from the news conference in Quebec City was representation from Quebecor, Inc., the media empire that has been talking about bringing NHL hockey back to Quebec City.