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Girard talks to NHL about hosting Kings and other teams in Quebec

Photo: Christine Muschi The Canadian Press Minister Eric Girard, who is responsible for the return of the Nordiques, took advantage of a trip to New York to meet the commissioner of the NHL, Gary Bettman.

Finance Minister Eric Girard discussed Tuesday with National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman the possibility of other teams imitating the Los Angeles Kings and competing matches in Quebec, indicated a spokesperson for the professional hockey circuit.

Mr. Girard, who is responsible for the Nordiques return file, is on a tour of investors in New York, where he took the opportunity to see Mr. Bettman.

The NHL's senior vice-president of communications, Gary Meagher, said that this meeting with Mr. Bettman and his assistant, Bill Daly, was organized at the request of Mr. Girard.

“They discussed Quebec's interest in hosting NHL games, including those scheduled for this fall when the Kings host the Bruins and the Panthers in exhibition games that will be played at the Videotron Center before the start of the regular season,” he declared by email to Devoir.

Mr. Girard's office clarified on Tuesday that no public funding would be used to host other NHL team games after those of the Kings.

In January 2022, the minister met Mr. Bettman for the first time with whom he discussed the return of the Nordics. At the end of this first exchange, the NHL indicated that it did not see any opening for the return of a team from the circuit to Quebec.

On Tuesday, Mr. Meagher did not specify whether the prospect of the return of a team that would succeed the Nordiques was raised again.

Controversial grant

Last fall, Mr. Girard announced that the government would offer a subsidy of $5 to $7 million to host the Kings training camp in Quebec from October 2 to 6, a decision that sparked controversy.

The minister then indicated that this event was the first of a plan which aims to highlight the Quebec amphitheater in the hope of obtaining the return of an NHL team. He expressed a desire to host other “major league events” including regular NHL games or other “cheaper” team training camps than the Kings.

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“These are steps which aim, on the one hand, to use our infrastructure and to show that Quebec has fans, has an infrastructure, a hockey culture,” he declared in November.

After taking note of the “very negative reaction” generated by his decision to finance Kings games, Mr. Girard estimated the probability of a return of the Nordiques to Quebec at 10%.

After learning that the Kings agreed to play in Salt Lake City without support from the City or the State of Utah, the Liberals demanded reimbursement of the subsidy for the team's games in Quebec this year.

In the wake of the controversy, in November, the minister gave up meeting Mr. Bettman due to negotiations for the renewal of public sector collective agreements. According to Mr. Girard's office, they have met approximately five times, including their January 2022 exchange.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116