Quebec City mayor tries to lure NHL

The return of the Quebec Nordiques to the NHL may be one step closer to reality.

Former Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut apparently involved as well.

One of the National Hockey League's fiercest rivalries could be in line for a second run.

CBC Sports has confirmed a report that Mayor Régis Labeaume met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday in New York about bringing a team back to the provincial capital.

Marcel Aubut, the former owner of the Quebec Nordiques, was also at the meeting.

"There were no promises made by the NHL commissioner to these people," Hotstove contributor Pierre LeBrun said on Hockey Night in Canada.

Quebec City would need to build a new arena and marshal corporate support, LeBrun added.

Quebec City lost its club in 1995 when a rapidly falling Canadian dollar and an aging arena, Le Colisée, combined to force a sale to interests that moved the club to Denver, Colo., where it became the Avalanche.

One year later, the Winnipeg Jets would move to Phoenix and become the recently crumpling Coyotes.

Bettman had said earlier this month he would look at a team for Quebec City if a new arena were built and a club were available for sale.

Quebec news media are reporting that an announcement about a new building may be made by the end of next week.

Les Nordiques were originally a World Hockey Association franchise that came into the NHL in 1979 with the death of the upstart league.

They made headlines on numerous occasions, most especially when Aubut and his head scout, Gilles Leger, arranged to spirit Peter and Anton Stastny out of communist Czechoslovakia in 1980.

Their brother, Marian, joined them a year later on a money transfer agreement, opening the doors to eastern Europeans in the NHL.

Peter would go on to a Hall of Fame career.

The Nordiques would also obstinately draft centre Eric Lindros in the summer of 1991, despite being warned by the player's agent he would not sign with Quebec.

After holding out for a year, Lindros was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for many of the pieces that would form the Stanley Cup winning Avalanche club once it moved to Colorado.

But nothing could hold a candle to the excitement of each and every renewal of the rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens, one that saw some of the best hockey, and wildest fights, of the era.

Most memorable was the infamous Good Friday Brawl, in April of 1984 during Game 6 of the conference quarter-finals. The benches emptied at the end of the second period and after a long, long brawl everyone went to the dressing room.

The players who were supposed to be out of the game were inadvertently allowed to come back on the ice to start the third and the fight broke out again.

Almost 250 minutes in penalties were called.

With files from The Canadian Press