QUEBEC CITY — Quebecor boss Pierre Karl Peladeau has been keeping an eye out for an NHL franchise to buy and re-locate to Quebec City. According to Peladeau, the “winning conditions” needed to be successful in such an endeavour are “more and more numerous”.
After the meeting between Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume, former Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was made public, Peladeau is fuelling the rumours that a NHL hockey club could make a return to the city.
Peladeau said yesterday that he was keeping up on what teams could become for sale “if we decide to re-locate teams to Canada”, adding that he was very aware of the financial difficulties facing some American hockey clubs.
The word that Peladeau could become involved in the push for another Canadian franchise comes just as observers are becoming more and more optimistic that Quebec could be next in line for a pro hockey team.
While Peladeau said it will take the involvement of more people to make something this big happen, he said his team was working hard to figure out the “winning recipe”.
And while he acknowledged that a new hockey club arriving in Quebec City isn’t “for tomorrow, or for next week”, the businessman seems nonetheless confident that it could happen.
Peladeau confirmed that he has also “frequently” met with Labeaume, with whom he has discussed the idea of bringing hockey back to the city.
According to several sources, Peladeau is actively searching for partners in the city to bring the plan to fruition.
Peladeau, meanwhile, said he “wasn’t specifically” looking for partners but that he had been talking with business people in the area.
“But it’s undeniable that forming a group to explore bringing a club to Quebec is desirable,” he said.
Peladeau also said he was pleased to see a positive relationship between Labeaume and Bettman, adding that the way they were going about the situation was “appropriate”.
“You have to respect the NHL institution,” Peladeau said. “We saw what happened with Jim Balsillie.”
That comment was in reference to the Blackberry creator and billionaire who tried unsuccessfully to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Hamilton.
Though he is excited about the possibility of bringing hockey back to Quebec City, Peladeau said he is very aware of the work that needs to be done to make it happen.
“We’re missing a team and an amphitheatre,” he said. “And that is the chicken and the egg problem. Is it the amphitheatre that brings the team or vice versa? But I have to add that the timing is getting better and better.”