"We cannot promise you a franchise."

quebec.jpgThat's a quote worth remembering as debates begin to rage over whether a portion of the federal gas tax should go towards building an NHL-style stadium in Quebec City.

When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed reporters before the All Star Game in North Carolina last month, he was asked about the likelihood of another team landing in La Belle Province, should the city commit to building a new arena.

Here's what he said:

"I don't want anybody getting excited. The fact of the matter is over the last couple of years there have been lots of stories suggesting a building in Quebec City is a done deal, that the money's been raised. Nobody has told me that, and in the conversations that I've had with a variety of people, including the Mayor and the Premier, we have said we're not planning on expanding. We're not planning on relocation. So we cannot promise you a franchise.

If there's a new building, separate and independent from us, for whatever reason and the opportunity presents itself with respect to a franchise, it's no different than what I said about Winnipeg. But we don't want people building a building on our account, expecting that there's going to be a franchise, because we're not in the position to promise one right now."


In related news, a recent poll suggests that most Canadians aren't thrilled with the idea of federal funds paying for professional sports venues, though, perhaps not surprisingly, support is much higher in some parts of the country (namely Quebec) than others.  

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