Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard confirmed Wednesday that interest was expressed “on both sides” in bringing Ottawa Senators games to Quebec City when he met with Commissioner Gary Bettman in January. However, he said these were only preliminary discussions with the NHL.
La Presse reported Wednesday that the Quebec government, the NHL, the Ottawa Senators and Quebecor had held discussions with a view to bringing five Senators games to Quebec City’s Vidéotron Centre next season.
Girard said that the nature of the recent discussions between the Quebec government, the Senators and Quebecor was more about the presentation of the World Junior Hockey Championship next December and January in both cities. This edition of the tournament was supposed to take place in Russia, but the International Ice Hockey Federation announced on February 28 that it was withdrawing Russia’s privilege to host international hockey tournaments in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Senators’ President Anthony LeBlanc also confirmed the talks for the 2023 World Junior Championship, as reported by the Ottawa Sun. He added that Girard said that he would like Quebec City to host NHL games and that Quebecor expressed interest in hosting games at the Vidéotron Centre, but that no real negotiations had taken place.
According to the report in La Presse, the NHL is testing Quebec City’s interest in hosting the five Senators games and a “financial package” is being prepared. The Senators would demand compensation for giving up the five games to Quebec City.
The three opposition parties in the Quebec government have expressed reluctance to have public money used to support the move.
— This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 30, 2022.
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