Quebec City and Las Vegas At The Final Hurdle For a NHL Team.


Today, the NHL will here presentations from both Quebec City and Las Vegas as they enter the final step to becoming homes to NHL expansion teams. “They have been invited to make presentations to the Executive Committee on Tuesday,”NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email. “Evaluation process will continue,” Daly wrote. “No defined timeline.”

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Neither city is expected to be ready to have an operational franchise before the start of the 2017-18 season. That is in part to the massive franchise fee expected to be paid by both groups. Commissioner Gary Bettman proposed a half a billion dollar franchise fee at the start of the evaluation process. (That’s a substantial markup from when the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild paid only eighty million to join the league back in 2000.)

Quebecor (Quebec City) spokesman Martin Tremblay and Michelle Kersch, spokeswoman for billionaire investor Bill Foley’s Las Vegas group, have stated that their groups will make a presentation to the committee. Sometime later in the day, the committee will report to the Board of Governors, headed by Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.

Quebec City showed off its new Videotron Centre as it hosted the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Habs beat the Pens 4-1. While the Canadiens fan base attempted to assert themselves with the occasional ‘Go Habs Go!’ chant, they were met and overwhelmed by a loud chorus of boos. Even after twenty years separated from the NHL, Quebec City appears to be a team that is hostile to the Habs.

“It was probably 50/50,” said Montreal center David Desharnais after the game. (Desharnais grew up in nearby Laurier-Station, Quebec.) “But that’s the way it is here.”

“The people of Quebec City, sure, it’s us, so maybe they were a little shy,” said the Habs forward of the fans at the new rink. “But I’m sure when they have a team, that’s going to be a loud building.”

It will be great to have another team in the league whose ire for Montreal matches that of the Boston Bruins.

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