BOSTON — Could former Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron eventually become of an ownership group or at least a driving force to finally bring NHL hockey back to Quebec City?
Speaking to the media at the Boston Bruins‘ Centennial Season opener ‘Gold Carpet’ celebration at TD Garden on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, who grew up in the Quebec City suburb of ‘Ancienne-Lorette, was caught off guard a bit when the final question was whether or not he envisions himself becoming part of a group that could bring back the Quebec Nordiques?
“Oh my God! I thought you were asking me about a beer league or something! Uh. …this is more serious,” a laughing Patrice Bergeron replied at first. “I mean, I was a big fan growing up. I know the impact it had on myself, my brother, and my friends. I think it. …in a way, I wish the Nordiques will come back one day. I really do. I do for the city; I do for the kids. I think it’s a great market. I can’t really answer that question at this time because it’s never even crossed my mind. I’d have to think about it, but I would be open to it for sure.”
After being an NHL franchise since the 1979-80 season, the Quebec Nordiques left Quebec City after the 1995 season and became the Colorado Avalanche in the 1995-96 season. As if it wasn’t brutal enough that a hockey market like Quebec City was losing its team, that team went on to acquire future Hall of Famer goaltender Patrick Roy in December 1995 and then won the 1996 Stanley Cup.
On September 8, 2015, the 18,259-seat Videotron Centre replaced Le Colisée where the Nordiques had played their games, but the NHL continues to seem disinterested in putting a hockey team back in Quebec City. The league has added six expansion teams and relocated one since the Nordiques became the Avalanche, and with NHL expansion once again being discussed going back to the 2023 NHL All-Star game and again at the recent Board of Governors, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman continues to downplay any talk of another team in Quebec City.
As Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman pointed out recently, it’s simply because there are more and better economic situations for expansion in the United States.
“NHL expansion is coming. And it’s because the NHL feels that compared to the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the NFL, there are places in the United States where they can still add more teams. And I think the sport as a whole feels that way,” Friedman said on a recent 32 Thoughts Podcast.