Quebecor, Inc. -- a Montreal-based communications company that owns newspapers, television stations, and cable providers -- announced today that it would submit a bid to the NHL to place in an expansion team in Quebec City, restoring the Nordiques branding that was lost to Denver in 1995 and became the Colorado Avalanche. The deadline for these $10 million submissions is August 10th and this bid is expected to be in competition with cities like Seattle, Las Vegas, and Toronto, who is looking to add a second team to its large hockey market.
There are many arguments against league expansion, and there are even more arguments against expansion into Quebec City in particular. For one, the NHL already sports an unbalanced Eastern Conference, and adding yet another northeastern team will only exacerbate a problem with geographical diversity the league has been trying to alleviate for decades. A new team in Quebec would almost certainly require another divisional realignment for the second time in three years.
The other problem is the weak Canadian dollar. Despite being called the National Hockey League, business is done between two nations and there are complications involved with exchanging currency. Canadian teams operate their businesses earning Canadian money, but are forced to pay their player salaries in US dollars. So, when the exchange rate is $1.30 USD for every $1.00 CAD like it is now, Canadian teams are paying 30% more in salary costs than their American competition.
But these are trivial matters to a multi-billion dollar company like Quebecor, who would love nothing more than to place an NHL franchise in their brand-new Videotron Centre; and we, as Colorado Avalanche fans, should support this effort.
Why? Because it's the right thing to do.
In 1995, we were gifted an NHL team that was one Hall Of Fame goalie away from winning the Stanley Cup. The Nordiques fan base had suffered for years during losing seasons, and had received numerous high draft picks in return -- players that would be keys to the Avalanche success for nearly a decade. They picked all the apples, we ate all the pie. It's hardly fair, and the least we can do now is demonstrate some empathy and indulge some of our fellow Canadian fans who have begrudgingly supported the Avalanche for 20 years, despite wishing they still had their own team.
They're not going to get our championships, they won't get the image of Ray Bourque hoisting the Cup over his head, and they can't take away our famed rivalry with that dastardly red team from Detroit. A new Nordiques club won't affect our ability to go to the Pepsi Center and watch Matt Duchene light up the lamp or Semyon Varlamov flash the leather.
But they will get their fleur-de-lys back, the sense of unity and pride cheering for a hometown team, and their own players to love and discuss ad infinitum on the internet. As hockey fans, we can wish this incredible privilege upon the incredibly deserving fan base in Quebec City -- and we should. Let's be vocal, let's provide encouragement, let's write the league and let them know our Quebecois brothers and sisters deserve NHL hockey again.
After all, they bestowed it upon us once upon a time.