Another team, please

The Blackhawks and Lightning played a pre-season NHL game in Winnipeg on Wednesday. (QMI...

The Blackhawks and Lightning played a pre-season NHL game in Winnipeg on Wednesday. (QMI Agency/Brian Donogh)

LAURA PAYTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:22 PM ET

OTTAWA -- About three in five Canadians want to see a new NHL team in Winnipeg or Quebec City, according to a new Angus Reid poll.

But only 35% want to see public money spent to support the team.

When asked whether they think it's a good idea to put a new NHL team in Winnipeg, 62% of respondents said yes. When asked about Quebec City, 57% said they like the idea.

Support is, not surprisingly, strongest among self-described hockey fans, 82% of whom said they think it's a good idea to put a team in Winnipeg and 75% said they like the idea of a team in Quebec City.

But despite strong support for getting another Canadian team, there isn't much appetite for spending taxpayer dollars to make it happen.

When asked whether they would support federal government money facilitating the relocation of an existing NHL team to a Canadian city, 57% said they oppose the idea.

Opposition is highest in B.C., at 71%. The strongest support for the idea is in Quebec, with 44% of respondents saying that would be OK.

Hockey fans in Quebec City are hoping to draw a pro team back to the city after spending 15 years grieving the loss of the Nordiques to Colorado, where they became the Avalanche.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is sometimes spotted at NHL games with his son Ben, hasn't entirely closed the door on cash for cities and provinces to help attract professional sports teams.

"If there is to be any role for the federal government, first of all, that role would have to be equitable across the country, treat everybody the same and it also has to be affordable, recognizing that this country is going to be moving into a period of fiscal restraint," Harper said earlier this month in Sept-Iles, Que.

Marc Lavoie, a University of Ottawa economist who's written two books on the economics of hockey, says pro sports teams don't bring in a lot of money for governments.

"The players get paid, (but) they don't necessarily live in the municipality, the state or the province," he said. "So economically, there's not much gain." If, however, the area considering a new arena has high unemployment, "you can always argue that could be one of the infrastructure projects we could subsidize," Lavoie said.

Angus Reid polled 1,009 adult Canadians online from Sept. 17 to 19. The margin of error for a random sample of that size would be 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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