Just following process regarding Quebec: Nicholson

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

OK, Hockey Canada played Winnipeg for a pawn. But will there be payback?

Because Quebec City's preparations for its portion of the 2008 men's world hockey championship looked dismal, Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson threatened to move it to Winnipeg -- after first soliciting the approval of local organizers.

But Quebec City got its house in order over the last seven days and will maintain its part in the partnership with Halifax, leaving Winnipeg with nothing but hope for a different international hockey event.

"I don't think Winnipeg thinks we owe them a favour or vice-versa," Nicholson said. "We've had great partnerships in the past, we're going to have great partnerships in the future. Every time that we do an event, there's process and our concern was Quebec City a week ago (because) they weren't following that process."

But now that the locals have kissed the hockey grandfather's ring, surely he will smile favourably on Winnipeg the next time it bids for an international event, such as, say, the junior worlds?

"There certainly seems to be a lot of talk about that," Nicholson responded with a smile. "I can't even go there right now. I've got to put my eyes on the women's world championship in '07; '08 is the men's; '09 is the juniors, in which there are over 8,000 packages now in Ottawa already. So, we've got to focus on that.

"Winnipeg's going to be in the running for anything they want to get into on the international front. They've shown that in the past and they just stepped up and were really supportive of us last week."

Although some believe that guaranteeing $12.5 million to play host to the world juniors may be too high for Winnipeg, Nicholson denied that the popular event has become too big for Canada's smaller communities.

"There's a great relationship with Hockey Canada and Winnipeg," he said. "It's shown here in the past and we're going to show it here again in April with the fans showing up for the women's worlds."


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