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Could the Quebec Nordiques be returning to the NHL?

The Quebec Nordiques could be making their return to the NHL soon with discussions about the future of hockey in Quebec City have opened up. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman met with Quebec Prime Minster Francois Legault to discuss bringing the defunct Nordiques back to the NHL.

Legault said, “I’ve spoken with Bettman already, and there are meetings that are planned during the coming months. You have to look to know who is ready to invest. We have an arena already built in Quebec City, and we are in contact with commissioner Gary Bettman to find out what we need to bring back the Nordiques.”

The arena Legault was referring to is the Videotron Centre located in Quebec City that opened in 2015. The 18,259 seat arena doesn’t currently host an NHL team but holds the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. Hockey was a major part of Quebec from 1979-1996 before the Norquides were relocated from Quebec to Colorado, to become the Avalanche

The two ways of bringing the Nordiques back into the NHL is through an expansion draft or relocation. In the past 5 years, the NHL expanded from 30 teams to 32 teams with the additions of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 and the Seattle Kraken in 2021. Adding another expansion team would cause an imbalance of teams in the league and there haven’t been any plans for further expansion, eliminating this idea. 

However, there could be a possible relocation of a franchise to Quebec. Over the past few weeks, there has been a ton of speculation about the Arizona Coyotes’ future in the desert. The city of Glendale informed the Coyotes that the 2021-22 season would be their last in the Gila River Arena. The Coyotes don’t have a permanent home for the future in Arizona. Along with their poor on-ice performance and declining attendance, a possible relocation isn’t out of the picture.

NHL Division Relocation (if the Coyotes relocate to Quebec City)

Atlantic Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Nordiques, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals

Central Division: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets

Pacific Division: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights

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