Are the Nordiques back within 5 years?


A catchy title, but not sensational. One day we will have to feel some beneficial effects of the pandemic.

Column published in the Journal de Montréal

The National Hockey League is a private company that is not required to make its balance sheets public. It would be perilous for him to publish a catastrophic financial year. This is however what the owners of the teams would have had to face recently.

The losses envisaged due to the shutdown of activities and the resumption behind closed doors would have been greater than the initial scenario. Enough to believe the league is financially mortgaged for several seasons.

Like Gary Bettman or not, he’s a visionary who raised the NHL to a level unthinkable a quarter of a century ago. The owners owe him a lot and they listen to him carefully.

The Canadian Tire dollar

Bettman knows that a normal resumption of operations will not instantly rain dollars into the pockets of its owners. At least, certainly not in the United States. On the other hand, in Canada, hockey will remain the sport of choice for amateurs and sponsors alike. The seven Canadian dealerships, less than 25% of NHL executives, contribute approximately 35% of overall revenues year after year. This percentage could exceed 40% on resumption, with the addition of an 8th concession on Canadian soil. The weakness of our dollar remains a factor, but between a piastre of Justin and 25 cents of Uncle Donald, Gary will bend down to pick up the piastre Canadian Tire …

Last January, Les Nordiques was nothing more than a mirage, an inaccessible dream. But the pandemic changes everything. Gary Bettman likes to follow the money trail. He will quickly seek to blow the revenues of the league with a good quantity of brand new money. Nothing better than a transfer « tax » of 500 million to allow Quebec to welcome Carolina or Florida? Houston could receive Arizona, a party blow? A fresh billion to be distributed in the empty coffers of the other markets of the league, why not?

Favorable context

You have the right not to believe it. But I believe the Nordiques are closer than ever to reviving in Quebec. Quebec’s gross domestic product (GDP) and its growth are higher than those of Alberta, according to the Institut de la statistique du Québec. The population of the “country” of François Legault practically doubles that which however lodges the Oilers and the Flames.

The economy of Quebec is superior to what it was when the Nordiques left in 1995, and the agglomeration of the national capital exceeds that of Winnipeg.

Out of 32 dealerships, having eight on Canadian soil is a possible solution for the NHL, thanks to the injection of significant capital. Hunger justifies the means. Gary Bettman and the NHL Canadian Club can no longer knowingly ignore Quebec.

On Saturday, I will come back to the subject with a calendar outlook and a geographical tie-breaker for a 32-team national league, including eight on Canadian soil.

Too bad we can’t get together, I would have walked Blue with great pleasure …

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