Depending on who you believe, there are rumors on the Internet that an announcement could soon be made on or around June 18 concerning a future rebirth of the Quebec Nordiques to the NHL and Quebec City.
While most of the chatter has been hearsay, here is an update on the Quebec situation from today's Toronto Globe and Mail. Quebec Dream Nears Reality.
Why is this important? Well for one, it legitimizes some of the chatter. Secondly, it updates many of those of us that have been following the process since last October when Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume surprised many with his initial discussions of building a new arena in hopes of getting back into the league.
For more evidence, there is a recent interview with Gary Bettman from Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada during intermission of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals game on June 2 where expansion, relocation, and Quebec and Winnipeg, among other topics, came up regarding the ever in-flux situations of the Southern hockey franchises.
Bettman has recently indicated that leaving traditional places like Quebec City and Winnipeg was a bad idea, so why not make it right?
So I ask, why June 18? I've heard about plans being unveiled around this date but wouldn't June 24 make a much more appropriate celebration?
Enter La Fête nationale du Québec
Why June 24?
Well, in Quebec, it is known as La Fête nationale du Québec or quite simply, "Quebec Day" in English. In addition to being a holiday revolving around National Pride and modern day labor, it originally held religious significance.
What better way to unite Quebecers than to bring back their long-lost nostalgic team that brought many so much joy on this symbolic date? The cards are in place with local governments working, supposedly with provincial governments behind the scenes.
In a province that was founded specifically with its unique French aspirations in mind that opposed to the rest of "English Canada" and fierce but admirable commitment to preserving their French culture, via French Nationalism, believe me, if there is any way to incorporate such an announcement with this symbolism, they aren't going to miss that opportunity.
Investors lead by Quebecor, and Pierre-Karl Péladeau have been saying all the right things and are on board. We apparently will soon find out whether there were ever anything to the rumors.
My guess is there is and what an appropriate day to make such an important announcement. One almost has to wonder if they are setting it up as such, thus the purpose of this article: my own speculation.
Pure speculation, that's all it is. Call it a hunch, but wouldn't it be nice?
Could Eric Lindros, 20 years later, hold the key to franchise revival?
Or who knows, they could jump the gun a few days early and do it on June 22: the 20-year anniversary of the infamous Eric Lindros draft and subsequent refusal to play for the Nordiques , which ultimately led to the team's departure to the United States and changed hockey in the province forever as a future article I plan to write, will explain leading up to this infamous anniversary, when it gets closer.
Like the June 18 and 24 pure speculation , doing this announcement around the 22nd would serve to be both the ultimate jab at irony and Lindros as well as another possible unifying factor which all jilted Quebecers could unite and heal.
Either way, one way or another it appears we will all know soon enough. The only questions are when and under what format would they make this announcement? Why was that date chosen?
Whatever day that is, say the 25th for example, the first day of the 2010 NHL Draft, would be an extra-special day in the eyes of traditional NHL fans across the world, a new day of significance, but especially in the hearts of Quebecers who would finally be at peace, 15 years later.
The draft would also make sense because the league would be together, collectively in one place making for an extra special setting meanwhile facilitating the ability to announce a building plan where league reaction could be garnered from all across the league.
Think of it as free publicity and should they come out with the announcement a few days prior to the draft, they could use the two day festivities as a launching pad to hype the team's return and get fan, player, and executive reaction from across the league which would only add more intrigue to the weekend.
One more day to celebrate: a new beginning.
Information from the CBC and "40 Minutes with Ron MacLean," and the Toronto Globe and Mail, and YouTube directly contributed to the content of this article.