Quebec City is planning on a September 2012 groundbreaking for a new stadium that just so happens to comply with the NHL’s mandate of certain attendance and amenity numbers. Granted, the Quebec Nordiques haven’t played in Quebec in nearly 17 years, but that isn’t stopping the powers that be from building this US$400 million dollar behemoth with the HOPE that a team will decide to relocate.
Now the majority of the time, the team comes to the City and the stadium is built while they play at an existing arena for a few years – similar to what happened with the Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina 14 years ago. Teams just don’t build these kinds of arenas – and spend this kind of money – without some strong assurances that a move is imminent, or at least a pretty strong suspicion that a team would be moving. So what are we missing here?
Now there are numerous teams that are still candidates to move – the Islanders and the Coyotes, just to name two, but the talk isn’t as strong here as it was this time last season. So would Quebec City build a $400 million dollar arena for the occasional Celine Dion concert? Perhaps City officials believe that by the time the stadium is built, one of these teams will be a stronger position to move. But that’s quite a chance to take.
It’s not my money, but it seems like a waste of public money with no definitive plan for relocation back to Quebec. Incidentally, Le Colisee can accommodate most of the functions that would happen here, if hockey doesn’t come back to town.