The Quebec Nordiques franchise got off and running as one of the original World Hockey Association teams when the league began play in 1972. Maurice "The Rocket" Richard was the first Head Coach but stepped down two games later when he realized that coaching wasn't his specialty. By 1978, the WHA was becoming very unstable and decided to merge with the NHL. The only stipulation of the merger was that the NHL had to keep it's surviving Canadian teams in the NHL. The other teams involved in the merger were the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and the Hartford Whalers.
The most famous family to play for the Nordiques were definitely the Stastny brothers, Peter, Anton, and Marian. Peter Stastny won the Calder Trophy after tallying 109 points in his rookie campaign. The combination of Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny would lead Quebec to the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons.
They also had some success on Draft day, drafting Mats Sundin in 1989, Owen Nolan in 1990, and Eric Lindros in 1991. Eric Lindros later refused to report to the Nordiques and ended up getting traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for what would turn out to be the biggest one sided deal in the history of the NHL. The Flyers gave up Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, plus future considerations, which were Chris Simon, two first round picks, and $15 million. This was an unbelievable amount to give up for somebody as overrated as Eric Lindros.
Once again, financial difficulties fell upon the franchise due to rising player salaries and the Quebec Northmen (English translation for Nordiques) were forced to move to Denver.