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Are the Nordiques coming back? Quebec Government to meet with NHL commissioner later this month

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed a January meeting with ‘someone high up’ from Quebec

Politicians in Quebec are to meet with National Hockey League brass in January, but it's unclear what influence the government can have on the league or whether team owners have any interest in bringing back an NHL team to Quebec.

Local fan's aren't holding their breath, following a series of disappointments, and they are unsure if the government's latest move is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

“I tell myself that if Ottawa and Winnipeg are able to have a team, we should be able to have a team in Quebec,” Legault told reporters at the time, adding that his government was looking for partners to help fund the estimated $1-billion cost of a franchise.

Following the 1994-95 season, the Nordiques left Quebec and found a new home in the state of Colorado as the Avalanche, which won the Stanley Cup in their first season down south.

Quebec City fans were optimistic about getting an NHL team back a decade ago but are much less so now, says Vince Cauchon, a Quebec City sports radio host who co-founded Nordiques Nation, a booster group that included 100,000 members at its peak. He says the recent news landed with a bit of a thud.

“We were looking for the fire behind the smoke, and it’s a rare case of smoke without fire,” Cauchon said in a recent interview about Legault’s stated ambitions. “If it’s something that was politically motivated to rally the population, it had the effect of a sword cutting through water. The reaction was negligible — even bad.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has confirmed a January meeting with someone high up from Quebec, but he said he knew nothing about what was on the agenda and tempered any expectations, noting that no teams were looking to relocate and that there were no expansion plans.

The Arizona Coyote's need a new home for next season, and in Quebec there is hope is that the new arena building proposal in Tempe, Arizona will fall through so the team can be moved to Quebec city.

“We have a super nice arena here in Quebec City — a modern building, so it would be fun to use it for an NHL team,” he said of the Videotron Centre, which opened in 2015.

The stunning Videotron Centre in Quebec City which opened in 2015.

The rivalry between the Quebec Nordiques and Montreal Canadiens would be revived as the battle of Quebec. Which saw some very intense hockey game's back in the 90's.

But what Quebec City doesn’t have is the league’s interest. Côté says he thinks the NHL sees Quebec City as part of the Montreal market, served by the Canadiens.

It is highly unlikely that the league will be expanding beyond 32-teams anytime soon, and a move from Arizona to Quebec would mess up the recently realigned division's which saw Arizona move from the Pacific into the Central Division, as Seattle became the 8th Pacific division team instead.

The city of Quebec has a rather small Metropolitan population of 832,000, which put's it slightly higher than that of Winnipeg (825,000 est.).