No possibility of return of the NHL to Quebec, says the commissioner to the representatives of the government

Girard and the league described their meeting as “cordial”.

“We explained that, while we appreciated and flattered the interest expressed, unfortunately, we were not aware of any opportunities that could meet this interest at this time,” Bettman said in a statement.

“We appreciate that the lines of communication between the parties have been refreshed and we have agreed to remain in contact with each other as circumstances warrant.”

Premier François Legault opened the door to dialogue with the NHL in November, professing his interest in seeing professional hockey return to Quebec and announcing that Girard, a senior minister in his government, had been appointed to support the effort and working since the summer.

Girard was originally scheduled to meet league officials in person, but the meeting was turned into a virtual meeting due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fans of the Nordiques franchise had been hoping for an NHL comeback since the team left for Colorado after the 1995 season. The franchise won a Stanley Cup in its first year in Denver.

A popular movement hoping for the return of a franchise began in the late 2000s and a new arena, the Videotron Center, was built to replace the aging Coliseum.

Quebec City fans have watched the financially troubled franchises with anticipation in recent years, but the league has never shown any interest in returning to Quebec City.

The NHL expanded to Las Vegas in 2017 and Seattle this season, but postponed a bid for Quebec at the same time it welcomed the Golden Knights to the league.

The last franchise to move was the Atlanta Thrashers, who moved to Winnipeg in 2011. This led to the revival of the Jets franchise, which moved from Manitoba to Arizona in 1996.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 13, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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