Sunday, October 18, 2009

If they build it, will Gary drop the first puck?

The quest for Quebec City's return to the NHL has heated up a bit, as the Mayor of the Quebec capital, currently involved in a re-election campaign for municipal office, outlined his plans for a new ice palace for the city and the hopeful home of one of the NHL's under performing and potentially relocation seeking franchises.

Mayor RĂ©gis Labeaume, who has been swatting aside the complaints of his competitors of late, outlined the details of his ambitions 400 million dollar project, the vast majority if not all of which would apparently be funded by tax payer dollars.

Mayor Labeaume, did make a nod towards fiscal sensibilities, suggesting that some of the funding for the new rink could come from private sponsors, a special lottery or money from the tobacco tax that will help government recover its share of the funding.

The Federal Government offered up a wink of the eye, suggesting that any potential Federal share for the new rink could come out of the federal contribution to the province's infrastructure pool, putting the onus on the Provincial government to say oui or non, the prospect of a new home for hockey, concerts and any other function that might find a home in an 18,000 seat structure.

There's no guarantee that Quebec City will get an NHL franchise again, in fact they need only look down the MacDonald Cartier freeway in Hamilton to see a once state of the art facility which once too had aspirations of NHL glory.

So far, Hamilton has had more than a few swings around the dance floor but yet to find themselves permanently booked for the big dance, though not for a lack of trying.
Then again, Quebec City has a bit of history behind it, an enthusiastic fan base, a market outside the orbit of the nearest franchise in Montreal and most importantly for Gary Bettman we imagine, nowhere on the prospective owners list does the name Jim Balsillie appear, which at least moves the Quebec file one shelf up on Mr. Bettman's inbox...

Globe and Mail-- Arena plans: Quebec wants in NHL

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