Quebec City Deserves NHL Team BEFORE Las Vegas

The sellout of Canada’s national game … by the ridiculously-named NATIONAL Hockey League … to American billionaires may soon take another step.

The NHL has okayed a “ticket reservation drive”  by billionaire Bill Foley, who wants to establish an NHL team in Las Vegas: the desert kingdom of glitter, gaudiness and gold (alas, mostly only  for those who OWN the casinos).

There is no suitable arena for hockey there right now …but  MGM is building a new arena-type facility, 18,000 seats, that could be used for hockey.

But Hockey …in Las Vegas?  I believe it would just end up as another dilution of hockey quality … turning a first class sport even more into a manipulated American marketing mechanism … more about advertising, promotion, marketing and endorsements than a display of the BEST hockey achievement.

And seems to me much bigger problems would surround the reality that there’s no huge established NHL fan base in Las Vegas or the state of Nevada …and thinking that an NHL team could be supported largely by visiting tourists would be pure folly: ask the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay for their audience draw and financial numbers.

For the millionaires and billionaires, it would just be a fun trinket, and tax write-off. But the game will be further diluted and weakened.

Well, there is a better idea that the NHL brass, based in the US, have too long shot down .

How about delivering more NHL to REAL hockey fans? How about stopping … okay, slowing down … the American commercialization of Canada’s national game?  (Naïve, aren’t I!)

Okay then, how about a bit  of plain, basic justice for those who LOVE hockey, LIVE hockey and have been fighting so long and so hard for a return of an NHL team: Quebec City!

La belle ville de Quebec even has a brand new, ultra-modern $400 million arena already under construction …to be completed in about a year.

It’s also 18,000 seats …. and though that may seem small by NHL standards,  at least those seats in Quebec City would have a better chance of being FULL … not like the masses of empty seats seen so often at failing US hockey arenas … despite major league rock-bottom pricing and promotions.

In fact, I’d bet that any Quebec City team owners and the NHL itself would generate a lot more revenue from a Quebec City team than most of the expansion teams in the US have managed. And in terms of television revenues, team regalia, endorsements etc. …where the REAL bucks are in professional hockey sports … Quebec City’s almost province-wide audience would be formidable  … no doubt a much better draw and investment than Las Vegas.

Every REAL sports reporter (NOT those who spend their careers fawning over the hockey players and brass they are supposed to be covering) should be demanding answers: WHY is even a Las Vegas team being considered before Quebec City gets its rightful due??? Why is the NHL being so watered down with minor-league caliber teams that many of its games are now not even worth watching???

Maybe the federal government should get involved too!

The NHL  … or even the original six … has  been so polluted by crass baseless expansion pandering to US millionaires and billionaires that the game itself is suffering.

And if the NHL does insult Canada further by awarding as new team to Las Vegas BEFORE Quebec City, then federal advertising officials should lay charges for fraud and misrepresentation  … and demand the name “National” Hockey League be dropped …. at least in Canada.

Harv Oberfeld

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19 Responses to Quebec City Deserves NHL Team BEFORE Las Vegas

  1. Splashdancer says:

    I hate hockey, could care less, media uses hockey to distract the gullible, Canucks, Sedins, suck, ticket prices a big rip-off, rather watch Naked and Afraid or Teletoon channel.

  2. DBW says:

    I am not going to argue with you, Harvey, about a team in Quebec or Hamilton, or Halifax, or Saskatchewan or even a second team in Toronto. Any viable city in Canada should come before another move to an American City especially those in the sun belt that haven’t proven to be all that successful.

    But I want to comment on a couple of points. The NHL continues to be financially sound. We might not like Gary Bettman and some of his changes but the league is successful.

    Remember too that Quebec and Winnipeg both had chances. Winnipeg got a second chance. Ottawa and Edmonton have had financial issues. It isn’t all rosy in Canada.

    The league isn’t watered down. Yes we have five times as many teams as we did during the much revered Original Six era, but we also now include players from Russia, Sweden, Finland, the US, etc. In other words a much larger than 5 times the pool that the Original Six, with mainly Canadian players, drew from.

    Of course there are lots of meaningless games We don’t care when Arizona and Nashville play but fans of those teams don’t particularly care when Ottawa plays Edmonton. As long as a team has a fan base it doesn’t matter about other games.

    The “National” Hockey League has been a misnomer since the ’20s when the league expanded into the US. I don’t think going back to a strictly Canadian League is going to work all too well. If we had two leagues, I am sure the Canadian teams would end up looking like the CFL and the American teams the NFL. I love the CFL as much as the next Canadian, but the calibre of players is far superior in the NFL.

    (Response: I disagree on quality: there are many players in the league now who would never have made it 20 years ago, let alone during the original 6 era. Thankfully there ARE still some terrific players who provide the excitement many, many others these days do not. I have no doubt the NHL makes money…lots of it …and enough to support its losers (is that socialism for capitalists? Or corporate welfare?) ..but the Canadian fans are being ripped off…. as more and more expansion in the US waters down the game and even the viewing experience, with so many empty seats in the stands. It’s only our addiction to the game itself that keeps us tuned in with some games. h.o.)

  3. morry says:

    It’s sad to contemplate how much the NHL has declined from the pure beauty of the game back in the days of the Six Originals. And after the 1980’s it has declined even further… a pale version of NHL Hockey. I just don’t watch it much hockey these days. . IF Las Vegas wins out over Quebec … well kiss the NHL goodbye as far I care.

    (Response: I watch a lot of hockey when I’m in the US over the winter as a link to “my” culture and country…but I’m saddened by what now passes for hockey’s “best” in some expansion cities, where by the way hockey is often hardly covered, even on “sportscasts”. h.o)

  4. D. M. Johnston says:

    I’m an old rugby man myself and both my boys play. I have gone off hockey and the NHL, far too expensive and out of my budget.

    The sad fact is, what is touted as Canada’s National game has devolved into a “sport of the rich”; for the rich; played by rich people.

    The angst over whether the ‘nucks will make the playoffs is now thread worn and who really cares, as Vancouver’s biggest slum lord owns the team.

    So the NHL wants to have a team in ‘Vegas, well why not as it is very close the odds-makers.

    Sure Quebec City should have a team and there should be one in the Maritimes as well, but the NHL is a rich boys game and if we are suckers enough to pay the freight so to speak, fool on us.

    (Response: A Vegas team would mean more than just another expansion: it would slide the NHL more towards Entertainment than real Sport …like some sort of a new Cirque de Ice attraction, where most locals would probably want to see more fights than stick-handling, speed or even goals. h.o.)

  5. R says:

    Nordiques already went to colorado

  6. 13 says:

    Yikes, hockey? I read your post with interest because I dont follow hockey. Nope not one iota. This ought to make eaf happy. If I cant afford to go to a game I wont support the sport. When my kids were younger I would take them to one canucks game each year. After that I would need the NDP to subsidize my wages with a much better union contract if I wanted to go to more games. I chose to feed my children instead.

    But back to Quebec and an NHL franchise. Harvey you had me on your side until you brought the federal government into the picture.

    If we dont think its fair that the champlain bridge is maintained by the feds then no way to the champlain hockey team.

    (Response: I sure don’t want the feds to PAY anything towards it! But I think Harper in public and his Canadian corporate buddies behind the scenes SHOULD be taking a stand with the NHL brass demanding that the next expansion BE IN Canada, where hockey actually counts, rather than just feed another American billionaire’s collection of trinkets. h.o.)

  7. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Just got back from Vegas (first time since 1988) and yeah: I don’t see how anyone would think that would be a great hockey market. Perhaps lots of money to buy a team… but hardly a collection of local people who would support it.

    Perhaps if they included a Cirque de Soleil act in the intermissions… or had the singer who botched O Canada during a CFL game there, when they had the Las Vegas Posse for one disastrous season.

    Quebec City deserves a team so much more than Las Vegas. Hamilton, next.

    (Response: I could imagine the NHL team forced on the road… because Bull Riding is in town! h.o)

  8. workforfun says:

    Harper do something for the people of Canada – no, I don’t think that will ever happen.
    Everything Harper does is for Harper and his cronies.

    (Response: Well, how about speaking up for his Canadian cronies who have bucks in the Quebec franchise. h.o)

  9. e.a.f. says:

    hockey in the desert?!? aren’t there laws against that? how stupid. good god those americans are tacky.

  10. psuperdave says:

    There’s no doubt that an NHL club in Quebec would suit the dreams of rabid hockey fans in the city, but the two spectres of the Nordiques’ demise linger – a weak Canadian dollar, and the French only culture. I don’t think there’s an Anglo radio station there anymore (there wasn’t in the 80’s), and it would serve a market a third the size of Vegas. Sadly, it’s no longer about the quality of what’s on the ice (the last 3 years Quebec had a GREAT team) – it’s about cold, hard cash.

    (Response: It doesn’t really matter whether the seats in the stands are all French …if they pay for season tickets, buy the gear, watch it on French tv …throughout the entire region …the bucks would be there. And surely a better rivalry to watch with Montreal or Ottawa than Las Vegas and Tampa. h.o)

  11. Keith E. says:

    Hi Harvey,

    it would be another trinket for a gazillionaire, but isn’t that always the way.?

    Most times when Americans are involved in an enterprise eminating outside their borders it’s about the money.

    Lance Armstrong’s debacle of the Tour De. France, American ownership of European soccer teams, remember the Vancouver Grizzlies.? They pay lip service but couldn’t give a toss about historical or cultural significance, the city in which they play while exploiting the local sheep.

    The NHL is no different to ” fighting for democracy”, Guatumalan Bananas or any number of examples of exploitation for $$s.

    With the Canadian $ sinking like a stone , the temporary foreign worker programme on ice won’t be coming to Canada anytime soon.

    (Response: I wish our sports reporters would go after this and ask some tough questions ..rather than the puffery they profer so much. And where is the great mouthpiece Don Cherry? The time to speak up is NOW, before the decision to move more of the National hockey league down south. h.o)

  12. luigi says:

    G. Barry Stewart, thanks (I think) for the link to that aborted version of O Canada. Cause for pity, I suppose, but hilarious. I truly thought the guy was going to break into a full-blown version of Oh Christmas Tree!

    A team in Vegas. Can you imagine the pronounciation of player names like Datsyuk, Byfuglien, Niederreiter, Lucic, Bieksa, even Sedin?

    I can hear the conversation between the play-by-play and colour guys now:

    “Hey Marty, do you think that Jagr might be related to the Rolling Stones singer?

    “Well, I guess maybe his parents or grandparents could of dropped a couple of letters from the last name. A lot of immigrants to the U.S. do that. You know Chuck, you just might have something there.”

    Gotta love Yankee sports broadcasting.

  13. Edgar says:

    I wonder if the move to Las Vages is not connected to the pressure from the four big sports to legalize sports betting in the US. It is currently illegal in all but four states. The NBA is trying to work out the legal framework to legalized sports betting in all states.

    The NHL franchise in Las Vages just allows the NHL to get in on the action. Gambling and attendance may make a franchise viable.

    I understand the earnings from the betting would have to be shared with players and how that formula will work is still a block for the NB going into their new contract negotiations. Of the course the owners would rather not share.

    Adam Silver from the NBA is leading the charge.

    (Response: Good point. I can certainly see if Vegas gets a team and gambling on games there nets a lot of money, the pressure from the NHL …esp the losing teams … to get game betting legalized everywhere will be tremendous! And all Quebec City has to offer is REAL fans, DEDICATED fans and another CANADIAN team in what, in my view, is now really an American league….or should I say industry. h.o)

  14. Gilbert says:

    I agree. We don’t need an NHL team in Las Vegas. In my opinion, there are already too many teams.

    (Response: I love watching hockey…but must agree, there are so many teams now that when two obscure US teams play I don’t watch. And apparently not many of their own local fans do either! When US football and basketball and even pre-season baseball are ALL in play, who is going to be an avid fan in Las Vegas! h.o)

  15. morry says:

    Las Vegas = Lost Wages. A land full of Losers. and few mega-rich who love to fleece the sheeple.

    A pox on both their houses

  16. nonconfidencevote says:

    I’m not much of a Hockey fan (even when I get “free” tickets I hand them off to someone due to the ancillary “costs”…ie; beer $10, food obscenely priced, washrooms lined up with no tv’s????, parking $20, and on and on and on) but the foolishness of a billionaire that wants his ego stroked by owning a professional sports franchise….ANY sport franchise…..never ceases to amaze me.
    But even billionaires seem to have a limit. Didnt the McCaw family of Seattle unload the Canucks to the Aquilini’s a few years back? And that was during the “sell out” heydays.
    Las Vegas? Ridiculous, when one considers Pheonix, Carolina, etc are wobbling on the brink of bankruptcy.
    Bettman only seems to respond to the owners wishes , not the fans.
    Expansion into banckruptcy.
    Good riddance.

    (Response: ALL great points! You have to wonder where our sports reporters across the country are on this? They should be outraged too, ask tough questions of NHL brass and even mount a Quebec City First campaign! h.o)

  17. nonconfidencevote says:

    Harvey re your question in #16
    “You have to wonder where our sports reporters across the country are on this?”

    I think that most kowtow to the almighty advertising dollar. Or dont dare slap the NHL hand that feeds them.
    The comment of Quebec City not having any english tv or radio is a bit of a misnomer. Any anglo player with a sattelite dish can watch english tv. I was in Quebec city last summer and had a wonderful time even though I dont speak French. All the young kids are english proficient due to the internet and most people my age(50+) seem to have gotten over their anglophobia. I think a Quebec team would definitely add to the NHL.
    Las Vegas? A sad joke and a slap in the face to loyal fans everywhere.
    Whats next ? The Atlanta Flames? Oh. Right. The folded their tent in 1980 and moved to Calgary……….

  18. BMCQ says:


    I agree Quebec should be awarded the next NHL Franchise!!!!

    Here is my list of most deserving Cities to have an NHL Franchise

    Quebec – A natural, great support there and just
    good for Hockey in general

    Seattle – The Key Arena will soon be replaced
    and they will also get a new NBA
    Franchise. A natural rival for YVR!
    Also good for the other West Coast
    Teams. Works easier for travel as well.

    Hamilton – Population, Fan knowledge, great for
    rivalry with T.O., Buffalo, Detroit, etc.

    Portland – Already have Arena, only The NBA so
    Dollars are not pulled to Baseball, NFL

    Keep in mind that most of all Hockey is now a business. The NHL does not like to move Franchises! Why move an existing Franchise when you can sell a new one to another City for $ 400 Million Dollars!!!!!
    Quality of Hockey

    Players today are

    Better conditioned


    Better Conditioned


    Far Superior, Lighter, Stronger, this all helps protect players.

    Sticks ae far superior.

    Slap Shots are over 30 Miles per Hour faster!!

    I am not saying players are more skilled at all I am just pointing out some things.

    I would hate to admit how many evenings in the 80’s I spend with Canucks drinking our faces off at places like No. 5, Richards, Mountain Shadow. The next morning they would have practice and then a game. That does not happen now. I believe Players are better prepared.

    Biggest problem with the game today is the fact that Players are so much bigger, faster, and the ice Surface leaves them far too little room to use their speed and skills.

    Two men that could answer the question of how hockey today compares to Hockey ofthe last 20, 30, 40, years ago just left us.

    Jean Beliveau and Pat Quinn. Both Icons, they will be missed by thousands!!

    (Response: I agree on NHL teams in Seattle and Hamilton as possibly being financially sustainable , but not Portland …certainly well before Las Vegas, which I believe would have to have all kinds of tacky promotions and phony glitter to fit in to the local scene/culture and just cheapen the game and the league in the long run. h.o)

  19. BMCQ says:

    For years now Portland has proven to be a good Hockey Town with The Winter Hawks. They also have very strong ownership. The Ownership could easily afford an NHL Franchise fee.

    They would also have a great rivalry with Vancouver, Seattle and the California teams.

    Las Vegas is a little Shlockey to me as well but I believe the Ticket Sale thing is just testing the waters at this time at best. I would guess that nothing comes of the L.V. idea.

    As to Bettman doing the Owners bidding……….

    Unfortunately I would guess that The Presidents Loyalties are to The ownership Group first and the Fans second!! Interesting how most business work that way!

    I believe Portland would be a solid contender for an NHL Franchise in years to come.

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