When the focus should have been on the press conference for the end of the Boston Bruins' season, owner Jeremy Jacobs, who is also the NHL Board of Governors chairman, made headlines after he said shocking comments that are a cause for controversy about the ongoing expansion talks and what it could be for one specific city.
As reported by Bruins insider Jimmy Murphy, who shared the information on his Twitter account, Jacobs has revealed that according to market studies, based on television ratings and viability, he doesn’t see a NHL team in Quebec City anytime soon. He believes that, once Seattle lands the 32nd team in the league, Houston is more likely to get a professional club than Quebec City.
"Look at Houston and I mean fifth largest in North America vs 105th let's say. So they have a different situation there. Economically they're challenged and numerically they're challenged."
It did not take long for several radio hosts in Quebec City to argue the comments made by Jacobs and open their hotlines to hear tons of angered fans hoping to see the Nordiques back in the league.
Quebec City is still sitting there with a ready to go arena, ownership and a “deferred” expansion application from the last go-around. The Vegas Golden Knights ended up grabbing the 31st NHL club over Quebec City in the previous expansion process. The NHL officially delayed Quebec’s expansion application during the last round when Vegas was accepted.
On Thursday, potential NHL owner in Quebec City, politician and businessman Pierre-Karl Peladeau fired back at the NHL for the comments made by Jacobs. Here is what Peladeau had to say, according to the Journal Le Soleil, as translated from French:
"I think there is work to be done. We have to explain it to us a little bit. My opinion is that the market, in its conventional definition, must have something other than that. The market is not just ticketing. I think Quebecor, who is the proponent forcer behind this project, is in a position to offer more than just a ticket sales. It's a media company, a telecommunications company, that is able to multiply markets, which leads us to conclude that the conventional definition no longer exists" Peladeau replied.
"We can consider that Quebec is an important market, but it is not only Quebec and its surroundings. There is the whole of Quebec and the francophone market. And that's how we want to succeed. We actually have work to do to convince those who are the decision makers inside the league and we will continue to do so," Peladeau added.
Let's see if the NHL and Jacobs have an answer to Peladeau's comments. Quebecor is definitely a huge company that can push a great market in Quebec City, however for now, the focus is on Seattle for a 32nd team in the League. With the league needing a 32nd team to populate the Western Conference and with Seattle that is more than just fitting that fit the bill, it looks like Quebec’s best bet for an NHL return is relocation. Ottawa, Carolina and Florida seem like the best contenders these days, but nothing appears imminent.