A weak Canadian dollar may hurt Quebec City’s bid for an NHL expansion team.
Quebecor chairman Brian Mulroney struck a resigned tone in comments made to the Normandeau-Duhaime Show on FM93 in Quebec City on Monday.
“Obviously, you know that with the Canadian dollar where it is, it is an extraordinary challenge not only for Quebec, but for all of Canada vis-a-vis the United States,” Mulroney said according to the Toronto Sun. “So we must deal with this reality.”
Mulroney, a former Canadian Prime Minister, also reportedly preached some level of patience for Quebec City in its quest to bring the NHL back to the area. The Nordiques left following the 1994-95 season.
“We work well with the National Hockey League and the case, quietly, (might) not advance quickly, but (will) advance as it should,” he said. “Will it be for tomorrow morning? No, I think not. But I think we are high up on the list of important applications to remember in the future.”
Also Monday former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque said the NHL Players’ Association had been told the league will exclude Quebec City from expansion moving forward. His comments came on 91.9 Sport, a Montreal based radio station.
The NHL then released a statement by deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Monday saying, “No final decisions have been reached” on expansion.
The NHLPA said the NHL “has not communicated to the NHLPA regarding whether or not they plan to expand to Quebec City.”
At the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was asked if it was “still possible for people in Quebec City to have a shot for a team” if the Canadian dollar continued to slump.
“We haven't been led to (believe) the contrary, by Quebecor, who's the applicant, so I don't think anything has changed in the process,” Bettman said. "Could that be a factor? I don't know. We haven't completed our deliberations.”
When the NHL announced their decision to open up the expansion process, the initial belief was they would receive bids from Las Vegas, Seattle and Quebec City.
Seattle did not submit a bid by the deadline last summer and the NHL has been adamant they will go through this process with just Quebec City and Las Vegas.
Along with the dropping Canadian dollar, questions have been raised about adding one Eastern Conference team and one Western Conference team rather than two teams in the west. Currently there are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 teams in the Western Conference.
Last September the NHL started using more cautious language about expansion, indicating there was “no timetable” for when the league would admit new members. The NHL has said the earliest a new team could start was 2017-18.
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