Homer Simpson is joining the hordes of longtime fans holding out hope for the NHL to return to Quebec City. The famous yellow patriarch of the FOX animated series The Simpsons has revealed himself to be a surprise Nordiques fan.
In the latest episode which aired Sunday, Homer watches the NHL draft, rooting for his favourite player Lubachek to be drafted to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Several years ago, the Coyotes were rumoured as a potential team that could move to Quebec City. On Sunday's episode, Homer's hopes are dashed when a player named "Cédric Bélanger" is drafted instead.
The Nordiques were also mentioned in a 2014 episode.
Simpsons writer is Canuck
It's no surprise with these hockey references, that the writer behind them is Canadian.
Tim Long hails from Exeter, Ont. and has been writing and producing episodes for the Simpsons for over a decade.
"We had a little thing where Homer was obsessed with the fact that the Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche," he told CBC's Quebec AM.
"For some reason that we never established, he took it very hard. He's one of many people who would like to see an NHL team back in Quebec City."
The fact that a player was named "Cédric Bélanger" is also not random.
'We are taking a stand that we want the Nordiques to come back to Quebec.' - Tim Long, writer, The Simpsons
After the show first referenced the Nordiques in 2014, Long received calls from several Quebec-based journalists, including Cédric Bélanger of the Journal de Quebec. He made a lasting impression, and Long kept his name in the back of his mind.
"In the re-write room, we were looking for the name of someone who sounds like they could be drafted in the NHL… naming characters is the hardest thing to do," he said.
"It felt like Lubachek could be someone from Western Canada, and I thought someone from French Canada might be good, and I was like, 'Oh I got a name!'"
According to Long, Bélanger "wasn't furious" to hear himself referenced on the show.
"If anything, his family got a kick out of it."
Long says we can expect this won't be the last Nordiques reference on the show.
"We don't like to take stands on too many things — we're not taking a stand on the U.S. elections — but we are taking a stand that we want the Nordiques to come back to Quebec."