Quebecor boss watches Phoenix-Winnipeg drama unfold; wants team in Quebec next

MONTREAL – First Winnipeg, then Quebec City?

While Manitoba awaits word on the return of NHL hockey, the would-be owner of a team in Quebec described plans to bring a second franchise back to Canada.

The Phoenix Coyotes, who left Winnipeg in 1996 but are now in dire financial straits, are the subject of on-again, off-again rumours of a return to their original home.

Quebecor (TSE:QBR.B) boss Pierre Karl Peladeau says he expects other U.S. franchises to suffer the same problems as Phoenix. When that happens, he says, there is a strong market waiting up north.

“We can eventually expect that there will be other teams in the National Hockey League that have financial problems,” Peladeau told a news conference after an annual shareholders’ meeting.

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“The Canadian market, especially the Quebec market, would be probably a good market to welcome a team that’s having financial problems.”

He says he’s already working on a business plan for one such market. Peladeau says he wants to bring a team to Quebec City—which lost its beloved Nordiques to Colorado in the 1990s.

He called Quebec City a “dream” destination for NHL hockey.

“Quebecers, I think, are really in favour of this. As for us, I think we are going to do our homework and continue working on our business plan and present it to the right people,” he said.

“It’s our national sport and we’re all really proud of it. . . We’d like to offer Quebec City and all of Quebec a professional hockey team.”