Rumours of Quebec NHL Team Fuelled By Quebecor Report

March 16, 2012 Updated: March 16, 2012

Québec City is one of two Canadian cities to feel the heartbreak of losing their NHL team.

But that loss may be reversed with the fortunes of Quebecor Inc. which reported earnings far beyond expectations for 2011.

Quebecor’s sprawling media empire includes an English newspaper chain and news channel, several French newspapers, and cable, internet, and cellular companies.

Revenues across Quebecor’s properties were up 5.2 percent, or $206 million to a total of $4.21 billion.

A VP at Quebecor said the company was not commenting on the issue, while a VP with the NHL says the league does not comment on possible expansions.

In response to questions about a possible Quebec team, the NHL source sent quotes or previously reported statements by NHL officials.

At the All-Star Weekend in Ottawa in late January, deputy commissioner Bill Daly dodged specifics when asked about the prospects for the Phoenix Coyotes. He said if the Coyotes could not be sold to a local ownership group, then there are many other places that would be interested in having the team.

“I would say it’s fair to say Quebec is not alone in their dream, and I’ll leave it there,” he said.

The same weekend, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about updates being made in Quebec and whether those would be good for the Coyotes.

“We’ve told anybody in any market who has asked who doesn’t have a team: don’t do anything planning on having a team, because we’re not making anybody any promises of anything,” said Bettman.

Speculation that Quebec could see the return of the NHL was fuelled in part by comments made by Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau in the company’s consolidated report for 2011 released on Thursday.

“As we review the events of 2011, we must also note the final agreement on management and naming rights to the future arena in Québec City, for an initial 25-year period,” Péladeau said.

“Quebecor Media now has all the tools it needs to pursue its goals, which are to manage a world-class multipurpose centre and to bring a National Hockey League team to Québec City.”