Hello everyone, and welcome to my first blog here on MYHB,
First of all, you will have to excuse me for my English, which is not perfect since i'm one of those Frenchies in Quebec City, but I will do my best.
I will start from the very beginning. It was a saturday, back in october 2005. I woke up, and somehow, i had this idea of doing a Website and a petition, in order to show the population and the fans interest in a return of the NHL in my City, Quebec.
Let's go back a little and see what was the context back then. The NHL was back from the 1-year lockout, and the small markets like Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, were all thrilled with the new CBA, of course mainly because of the new salary cap.
That was a little over ten years after the Nordiques had moved to Denver. And within those ten years, we almost NEVER heard of them anymore. Nobody would talk about them, except a small article in Le Journal de Québec here and there, once a year or so. Basically, it was dead. Nobody would even DREAM about it. We just buried the idea deep in our hearts, still seriously wounded by their departure.
So that summer of 2005, two articles were written by Albert Ladouceur, a journalist that followed the team the whole time they were here. He was saying that he spoke with Marcel Aubut, the ex-owner of the franchise, and that Aubut still believed the Nordiques could come back, one day, if we built a new building.
Reading this article was incredible for me. Aubut himself saying the Nords could be back was all I needed to convince me.
Back to october 2005 now, i worked on that saturday morning on the www.retourdesnordiques.com
website. As i launched it on October 14th, I made sure everybody on the internet would know about the site and go sign the petition. Within a few days, we already had over 2,000 signatures.
Seeing that it was getting bigger and bigger, i sent a press release to all medias in the Province, and from there, it went crazy. I gave alot of interviews on various radio stations, asking out loud WHY AREN'T WE DOING ANYTHING?!.
After one month or, we had over 55,000 signatures on the petition. This is when Mr. Mark Charest got in touch with me. Mr Charest told me that day that he was working in privacy on a project for a return of the NHL for the past 18 months, and he wanted me to join forces with him. To convince me of the seriousness of his actions, he showed me a letter of the mayor Jean-Paul Lallier that was sent to Gary Bettman himself about our interest in a new franchise. You can read the letter here: http://quebeclnh.com/fich...tenu/FAQ/LettreMairie.pdf
He also had a letter from Guy Lafleur that was also sent to Bettman. Even more, he said he was working with ex members of the Nordiques staff, and one of them had proofs on paper that a return of the NHL in Quebec was financially possible.
Mark Charest himself used to work for the Nordiques, as a marketing director.
This was in december 2005. From that day on, i worked countless hours with Charest in order to prepare the first public appearance of the Commitee. Since i joined his group, the retourdesnordiques.com website became www.quebeclnh.com
and nobody knew at that time that a commitee was in place. The petition just kept going up as usual.
The press conference
June 2nd 2005, HUGE day for us. It was time for us to do our first press conference. Most of the medias of the province were present. That day, we announced to the population that a committee was actively working on a project to bring back the Nordiques.
We also announced that we had the numbers that proved that it is financially possible to do it, which for us, was an important news (remember the context our city was in). We said that we needed the population support, through our petition, to continue to move on.
That day was a complete disaster. The medias were expecting too much from us. They though we would announce the construction of a building, or that a franchise was going to be moved to Quebec within 1 year, or that we had an investor to present. But no, we were only a bunch of people saying YES, WE CAN DO IT, LETS WORK TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE OUR GOAL.
The next few days, the press completely destroyed Mark Charest. They checked his past and found out that the guy bankrupped a few years back, and to them, he had no credibility. Keep in mind that everytime we pronounce the word "Nordiques", everybody is touched to the heart and really close to their emotions.
So Charest quietly disappeared after those events. And even myself, i started loosing faith in him, not because of his credibility, but mostly because of his incapacity to gather the population behind his project.
A project of a new building: Le Centre Nordik
In november 2006, i quit the committee. Charest told me he was working on a concept of a multi-complex buildings, including an arena, but i didnt think, at the time, that it was a good idea since he had absolutely no money.
Almost a year has gone by since then and, last september, Mark Charest did his second press conference. This time, he announced his project for a new building (Centre Nordik), showing a few 3D models and saying that he was now at a point where he will approach possible investors in the following months, trying to convince one to invest in the Province's Capital. You can see the models here: http://www.quebeclnh.com/...sentationCentreNordik.pdf
This time around, the medias were a little bit more receptive. The news was spread in all the province once again, and Charest did his best to convince the population that he is the one that will bring the Nordiques, and build a new arena.
So this is where we are now. Will Charest be able to find the necessary capital to build such a building? Personnally, i REALLY doubt it. Believe me, its not because I don't want it to happen. But I really doubt Charest is the one that will do it.
But, one thing is for sure. This guy has some guts! He came through with his idea, and now everybody in the province is dreaming again. This is all i asked for, because for every big project, there once was a dream.
The political situation
We all know how important the politicians are when big project like these. Well, since our mayor Andree Boucher, who was known for not being supportive when it came to sports, died in august, the Quebec City citizens are about to elect a new Mayor.
Most of the supporters of a return of the NHL are well aware of the opportunity to elect a mayor that will do something about it, so the stakes are huge right now for us. Some radio stations are openly saying they will support any candidate that will facilitate or work for the construction of a new arena.
Hopefully, this will put enough pressure on the politicians and they will see the opportunity. Anyway, Quebec is the only major Canadian city that doesn't have a modern building. Aubut said it before, and I believe him. Quebec City with a brand new NHL ready arena will be on top of the list if a franchise has to move out.
It would be appreciated if you all could go and sign the petition at: www.quebecnhl.com
Thanks for reading my first blog. Once again, i am very sorry for the quality of my english, and I hope you enjoyed it and are now more informed of the situation we are in.
Have fun watching this video we used as the opener of our first press conference: