Quebec City in line for arena — is this the final coffin nail?

Look, again, I don’t post here much any more. There really isn’t anything to post.

Recently, Darren Dreger from TSN in Canada wrote that the NHL is looking for ways to get out of Phoenix — FINALLY!

NHL Investing Alternative Plans for Coyotes
Eh. No real news there. We know that the NHL is having trouble finding a buyer which will allow the league to recoup what they spent to purchase the team in the first place. All this to keep Jim Balsillie out of their ownership cartel. Which, by the way, with RIM falling apart, was Gary Bettman prophetic to keep Balsillie out?

Kansas City was mentioned as “in the mix”, but no one has ever explained why. If you look at what happened in Winnipeg, the progression goes like this:
1.) Ownership group purchases AHL franchise and proves they are adept at running a professional sports franchise.
2.) Ownership group gets staked by a guy on Forbes wealthiest list
3.) NHL-caliber arena in place (or, in Winnipeg’s case) near NHL caliber.
4.) Ownership group and stakehorse work QUIETLY behind-the-scenes with Bettman to move up to first on the priority list
5.) Franchise comes up for sale. Bettman looks for a local ownership group. If found, franchise stays. If not, franchise is sold to aforementioned ownership group and moved.

Let’s also remember that Atlanta Spirit, LLC was not only the worst ownership group in the history of the NHL, but, quite possibly, the history of major North American professional sports.

Now, it seems Quebec City is the next city to take these five steps, in order, to own an NHL franchise (though I’m not sure if anyone within the ownership group has owned an AHL or QMJHL franchise).

New $400 million, 18,000-seat arena in Quebec City to be ready by Sept. 2015

This could seal the deal.

The other thing that I think sets Quebec City up for an NHL franchise is that all parties are on the same page. Quebecor would own the franchise. Quebecor would have the naming rights to the arena and, though no lease agreement is in place, it seems Quebecor would, most likely, have first rights to all hockey-related and non-hockey related revenue in the arena (in KC an potential NHL owner would only have first rights to hockey-related revenue — AEG would receive non-hockey related revenue).

Here’s the other part I find interesting:

In March, Labeaume said that millions of dollars in upgrades would be completed this summer to Le Colisee, the former home of the Nordiques; so should the Phoenix Coyotes — or any other NHL team given the sharp left turn that happened a year ago — have to be relocated this summer, a temporary home in Quebec would be available for the next three years while the new arena is being built.

Remeber, “if you build it, they will come” is not the case in NHL history. It has been “They will come and you’ll, most likely, build it later.”

San Jose Sharks started in the Cow Palace in SF.
Carolina Hurricanes started in Greensboro before moving to RBC Center.
Dallas Stars started in Reunion Arena.
Colorado Avs started in McNichols.
Tampa Bay Lightning even played in the Tropicana Dome or Field or Thunder Dome or Suncoast Dome or whatever it’s called now.

It seems the Nordiques 2.0 could go back to Le Colisee for a few years before the 2015-2016 season.

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