LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Celine Dion’s husband says he might take part in a bid to bring NHL hockey back to Quebec City.
When asked by The Canadian Press whether he would participate in a project to buy a big-league team, Rene Angelil offered a coy response.
“Maybe,” Angelil replied.
“Pierre Karl (Peladeau) has just learned that he has the confidence of Mayor (Regis) Labeaume. So it’s a little too early to be talking about any kind of involvement.”
He expressed interest two years ago in joining his friend Peladeau, chief executive of Quebecor Inc., in a failed bid to buy the Montreal Canadiens.
But now the Quebecor media empire has landed the naming rights for a future Quebec City arena and was granted exclusive rights to manage the facility, which is scheduled to open in 2015.
The province and Quebec City have pledged to build a $400-million, NHL-calibre arena in the provincial capital. It will be built entirely with taxpayer money.
The media company, owner of the Sun chain in English Canada, is now hoping to find an NHL team to play in the building.
Quebecor has long expressed interest in bringing an NHL club back to Quebec City, which lost the Nordiques 15 years ago.
But Angelil said it’s still too early for him to say how he might be involved in such a venture.
“We haven’t discussed this together yet,” he said when asked whether he would join Peladeau in bidding on an NHL franchise.
“The important thing is that Mayor (Regis) Labeaume has confidence in Pierre Karl (Peladeau), and with reason.
“Because he is so passionate, he wants absolutely wants a hockey team in Quebec City, and he has a plan of attack.”
Angelil, who is also Dion’s manager, is in Las Vegas this week where the pop diva was scheduled to give a much-anticipated concert Tuesday.
Peladeau and Labeaume were both scheduled to meet with Angelil in Las Vegas, where they were expected to discuss the arena project and take in Dion’s performance.
After the arena plans were announced earlier this month, the outspoken Labeaume accused the Harper government of teasing the public into thinking federal cash would help pay for it.
The mayor fumed that Ottawa should have made its position clear on arena funding sooner and the Conservatives were wrong to raise hopes—particularly when several local Tory MPs donned Nordiques jerseys for a photo-op.