Fans of the defunct Quebec Nordiques will be making a trip down to Long Island to attend a game between the Atlanta Thrashers and the New York Islanders. A group of 1,100 Nordiques fans will be there to show support for a team to relocate back to Quebec City.
The city lost its franchise back in 1995 as the team moved to Colorado. Ever since, fans have wanted a team back. Recently, the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec has talked about supporting the development of a new arena to possibly bring a team back.
The plan for the 1,100 demonstrators is to cheer at the 15 minute mark of each period, marking the 15 years they’ve gone without a club in Quebec City. Both the Islanders and Thrashers have been struggling at the gates, drawing fans well below the league average.
The interesting thing here is how adamant cities like Winnipeg and Quebec City have been on getting the next NHL team that happens to relocate. They really do have a tonne of fan support, but professional sports is a business. Without stable sponsorship and support from the business community in those cities, a professional hockey team can’t fly.
Derek Zona took a look at a number of markets that don’t have an NHL team and the various factors needed to support one. Arguments can go either way, but looking at these numbers, it’s hard to justify relocating a team to Winnipeg and Quebec City.
The whole debate, all of the actions and the findings has been left to fans. Not the league, not a research company and not a University of College. The actions, as planned by the 1,100 Nordiques supporters, is fan driven. That’s what makes this whole story and debate so interesting.
It remains to be seen what the final results will be. But what is clear is how hockey fans are the ones taking action here. Both online through blogs and social media, and the real world by driving eight hours to Long Island to show support for a defunct team.
Here’s the third period demonstration by Nordiques nation. Beauty. Montreal Gazette story here.