Quebec City vows to continue fight for NHL team

Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:24pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Quebec City's dreams of landing a National Hockey League team were crushed on Wednesday but the company behind the bid vowed to keep working on bringing the Nordiques back to Canada.

The NHL's Board of Governors decided to defer the Quebec City bid, due largely to a fluctuating Canadian dollar and the league's geographic imbalance, during a meeting where they unanimously approved expanding to Las Vegas.

It was a massive blow to a city that has not had an NHL team since their beloved Nordiques left for Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.

"Bringing the Nordiques back to Quebec City remains a priority for Quebecor. As you all know, we love the game," Quebecor Inc chief executive Pierre Dion told a news conference in Las Vegas. "We will continue to work with determination to achieve this goal."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the application by the Canadian telecom and media conglomerate "first rate" as it included a brand new arena along with strong ownership credentials with an eagerness to own a team.

But ultimately, Bettman said the bid was deferred due to elements over which bidding group had no control over.

"In considering both applications for expansion it was a priority for the board to create conditions that would place an incoming club, or clubs, in the best position to exceed on an expedited basis," said Bettman, emphasizing the bid was not rejected but deferred.

"Unfortunately the state and volatility of the Canadian dollar undermined the achievement of that objective relative to the Quebec City bid."   Continued...

Former NHL hockey player Yvan Cournoyer (L) lifts the Stanley Cup as Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Dion looks on during a press conference in Boucherville, Quebec, September 3, 2014. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi