For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nordiques Nation, they are a group solely focused on bringing about the development of an NHL calibre rink in Quebec City and the return of the Nordiques to their rightful home. (Yeah, I said it.)
One interesting tactic they have adopted within the last year or so is live “protests” within NHL games. Last year they made headlines when busloads of fans made the trip down to Long Island to take in a game between the Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers (You’re welcome, Winnipeg). This year they have done three games thus far. They took in a game between the Jets and Devils, the Capitals and Panthers, and as of Saturday afternoon, the Oilers and Senators.
Here’s their official video:
(Before we dive into the issue here, just let me say I LOVE their logo.)
The point is pretty clear if you ask me: Quebec City wants their team back, and they have never been more hungry for it.
The new stadium won’t be ready until 2015 according to Quebec City’s mayor Regis Lebeaume, who has been running his mouth more than he should lately. However, with blueprints to have the $400 million rink comparable to that of the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Quebec City believes it is an easy choice for a new team.
They also believe they could take on a new team as soon as next season should a team need to relocate (*cough Phoenix *cough). They would host the team in the Pepsi Colisee until the new rink is completed within the next three years. While it wouldn’t be a ground breaking piece of architecture for the league, they believe it would be on par with the likes of Nassau Coliseum and the Saddledome in Calgary at the very least. (Writer’s note: the Nassau Coliseum should be condemned if it hasn’t been already.)
Some comments from Quebec City’s mayor:
“I will be careful what I say, but if the League called, [we] would be ready,” he said.
“We want a club,” Labeaume said in an interview conducted in French and translated by an aide to the mayor and bilingual reporters. “But, for the rest, I will let Mr. [Pierre Karl] Peladeau have discussions with the league. My duty is to deliver an amphitheater.”
“The $400 million, we have no choice but for it to be enough,” Labeaume said. “But I’m leaving [Pittsburgh] a little more nervous than when I arrived.”
Labeaume said architects already “have been asked to cut a few thousand square feet. From my heart, it’s going to hurt, but we have to make choices.”
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held sometime this summer or fall, Labeaume said.
When you consider how under the radar True North was with their Winnipeg Jets efforts, I can’t think that Quebec City is picking up brownie points with remarks like these and I suspect an older, wiser Jim Balsillie would agree with me, but I digress.
The fact of the matter is this: Quebec City deserves to have a team over various other NHL locations, and their fanbase is mobilizing to prove this.
Winnipeg showed its viability in the form of an AHL team and quiet negotiations with the league. Quebec City has begun laying the foundation for what is planned to be a world class hockey rink and have produced a junior hockey powerhouse from a fanbase perspective, as the Quebec Remparts are one of the top supported clubs in all of Canadian Major Junior hockey. The trips to NHL games by fans only confirms what the NHL knows it needs to do.
Bring back the Nordiques.