Why not Quebec?: Stastny

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:49 PM ET

QUEBEC -- Peter Stastny doesn't have any doubt the new economics of the NHL would mean a return of the Nordiques here would be a success.

The former captain of the Nordiques looks around at some of the cities in the NHL today and says, "Why not?"

"What's the difference between Edmonton and Quebec? There's no difference," said Stastny, who might get an argument from somebody out on La Grande Allee on a Saturday night. "The situation was tough (in Quebec) in the '80s and '90s, but after 2005, things changed."

Stastny pointed to the salary cap that came with the new CBA after the lockout, which wiped out the 2004-05 season. as the economic turning point.

"Things changed 180 degrees," he said. "With the ceiling (on salaries) and support (revenue sharing) from the league, with that new deal, I don't have the slightest doubt it will work.

"I know and love hockey and I want it to grow. Having Quebec back in the league would be a big positive for the NHL and the sport."

Of course, Stastny, who defected from Czechoslovakia with his brother Anton in 1980 (they were joined by brother Marian a year later) has always had a soft spot for La Vielle Capitale.

"My 10 years here was like 10 years in paradise," he said Saturday. "I came from a totalitarian regime that I hated with a passion. I knew I had no future there. I came here as a young man who knew hockey and knew freedom and I loved the hockey and the freedom. Coming here, I was almost shocked how accepted I was. It turned out to be more than I was looking for."

Anton and Marian were on hand Saturday, too.

"The peope love hockey here," said Marian. "On the other side (of the border), the arenas are not full. People are not interested in the southern United States. I think it's natural they move north.

"If it doesn't work, it's better for them to be in Quebec City where there's an atmosphere for hockey and the people here have hockey in their blood."

The couple of dozen ex-Nordiques on hand were impressed by the turnout.

"Two years ago this was nothing but a dream," said former Nordique Marc Fortier of the return of the NHL to Quebec. "Today it feels like a real possibility."


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