Harper says he wants more Canadian teams in the NHL

ST-GEORGES, Que. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he’d like to see more National Hockey League teams in Canada.

The first question Harper faced during a news conference in Quebec’s Beauce region Friday was about a plan to bring back the defunct Quebec Nordiques.

“Of course, as a big hockey fan I would certainly like to see more teams created here in Canada,” the prime minister replied.

“I think the cities of Quebec, Hamilton and Winnipeg are all able to support a team.”

However, Harper said questions about hockey franchises would be better addressed to the NHL – not to him.

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He added that he didn’t want to be dragged into a local political debate.

Quebec City is in the middle of a municipal election and its incumbent mayor, Regis Labeaume, is campaigning on a promise to build a modern arena that could attract an NHL team.

Labeaume wants the provincial and federal governments to fund almost all of its projected $400 million cost.

The city lost its Nordiques in the 1990s.