Though no expansion announcement has formally been made by the NHL, it has long seemed as though the league would decide to either add one team in Las Vegas or forego expansion altogether. With the NHL’s public announcement of the decision expected later this month, it doesn’t seem as though Quebec City should be holding its breath for an expansion club.
At a Université de Montréal ceremony where former Canadian prime minister and current Quebecor chairman Brian Mulroney was set to receive an honorary degree, he said he doesn’t believe an expansion team in the Quebec capital is “for tomorrow.” Mulroney added that his opinion on the matter hasn’t changed much — if at all — since he commented earlier this year on the unlikelihood of Quebec City landing a team. Quebecor is behind the Quebec City expansion bid.
One of the major factors is undoubtedly the plummeting Canadian dollar and the uncertainty surrounding its stability. Even if all else is in order, the low Canadian dollar likely put the biggest wrench in Quebec City’s chances of landing an expansion team.
"I have no comment on the Canadian dollar," Mulroney said, via CBC. "But (commissioner Gary) Bettman has recognized that regarding Canadian teams, [the dollar] was an important element in the evaluation of a series of possibilities. We have to deal with reality.”
Quebec City and Las Vegas were the only two cities to put up the $500 million expansion fee to enter the expansion process, and both cities saw their expansion entries make it to the final stage. Bettman has said that there will be four options moving forward, which include awarding teams to both cities, one city, nobody or deferring the decision for one more season, which would push back any expansion to the 2018-19 season.
However, Mulroney said he believed “eventually” a team would be heading to Quebec City, even if not by means of expansion. Some have mentioned the possibility of the Carolina Hurricanes relocating north of the border as a potential solution for the struggling franchise, though there hasn’t yet been any signs of truth to that rumor. There aren’t any teams seemingly in danger of moving in the immediate future.
"You never really know, maybe suddenly a team may become available elsewhere,” Mulroney said, via La Presse.
(Ed. Note: Quebecor owns the subsidiary which owns The Hockey News.)