NHL reportedly rejects Quebec expansion bid because Canadian oil is too cheap

When the NHL indicated last summer that it could be interested in expanding by two teams in exchange for half-billion-dollar expansion fees, and then only two cities, Quebec and Las Vegas, bothered to submit bids, everybody figured that Quebec and Las Vegas would be getting NHL expansion teams soon. As it turns out, everybody figured wrong:

Former player Georges Laraque told a Montreal radio station yesterday that the NHLPA has been informed that Quebec City is no longer under consideration for a new team, at least not in this round of expansion.

The problem is apparently the weak loonie — no, not that one, but rather the crashing Canadian dollar, which currently sits at 75 cents thanks to low oil prices (Canada produces a lot of oil by digging up all of Alberta and running it through a sieve). So despite a relatively strong fan base, an ownership group led by the former prime minister, and a new arena with around $300 million in public subsidies, the NHL has apparently decided that Quebec will need to wait on the sidelines until it can confirm that it will generate more than Monopoly money for league coffers. (“Apparently” because the NHL has denied it, but only with a “no final decisions have been reached” no-comment denial.)

So what does that mean for Las Vegas, which initially sounded like the even-crazier expansion idea? Will the NHL really go ahead with adding just one team, in a market that would be the league’s smallest and most desert-surrounded? The NHL has refused to issue any timetables for expansion, so who knows? It’s entirely possible that the league could just go back to the drawing board and issue a new call for expansion bids — after all, if you’re going to get a bidding war going, you really want more than two cities going after two slots. You can smell the excitement in Seattle already!

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6 comments on “NHL reportedly rejects Quebec expansion bid because Canadian oil is too cheap

  1. With all the positive flow happening for Seattle on the pro sports scene (Hawks good, Sounders successful, Mariners may actually not suck for a year or two), why is it that the Seattle website to which Neil linked can only take pleasure when another city faces adversity?

  2. I wouldn’t say it’s that mean spirited. Seattle fans just want an arena for a new Sonics team, and an NHL team could maybe get them to that point.

    More interesting to me is that each of the ownership groups that bid had to pay a non-refundable deposit of 2 million. It almost seems as though the NHL had no serious plan to expand to both those cities, and I wonder how angry the bidders must be.

  3. Quebec City is going to face the grim reality that Hamilton Copps Coliseum came to realize: the NHL will use you as arena bait and nothing more. Maybe if some east coast team falls into complete disarray like the Thrashers did in ’11 QC will get a team. But short of that the NHL will expand and fill out the Western conference before it ever seriously considers QC.

  4. Quebec w/o
    L one day get a team. It could be my Islanders or Carolina. But the NHL wants a team in Seattle like the NFL does in LA, so they will get it

  5. If I were running a hockey league, I would certainly want Quebec City in it. The NHL always baffles me.

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