Election Of Molson Proves The REAL Reason Quebecor Was Turned Down

Initially, I believed the public explanation the NHL gives when explaining why the bid from Quebecor to own a returned Quebec Nordiques team was turned down; that the league conferences were unbalanced and that the Canadian dollar was low against the American one.

But after doing some research on the Internet, I came upon an article published in Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine which stated that the majority owner of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Peladeau had made some bad enemies on the NHL Board Of Governors.

Chief of these was the new owner of the Montreal Canadiens, Geoff Molson. His company, Molson Breweries had owned the Canadiens before and when they were put up for sale by the previous owner, he engaged in a bidding war with Quebecor to own the team again. Molson won and Peladeau thereupon made an inappropriate racist remark about Molson concerning his suitability about owning the Canadiens because he was an anglophone Quebecer. Shortly after his failed bid, Peladeau then announced that he and his company would pursue a bid to bring the Quebec Nordiques back to the NHL.

Peladeau was already a suspect owner in the eyes of many of the NHL Board because he was a known backer of the separatist provincial political party, Parti Quebecois, and his remark about Molson probably not only offended Molson but the majority of other English speaking owners, Canadian and American alike. His remark only confirmed their worst fears about him. Peladeau has neither retracted his remark nor apologized to Molson.

Immediately upon reading this article, I discarded the official versions that the NHL was offering for rejecting the Quebecor bid. You do not turn down a $500 million expansion fee without good reason. Peladeau is simply not an acceptable owner in the NHL’s eyes and the league is quite willing to live without Quebec until a suitable owner is found. The league cannot afford to have a public racist on its Board of Governors. Peladeau’s remark doomed any bid by Quebecor long before a single shovel began breaking ground for the new Videotron arena in Quebec City.

Since then I have written numerous articles on this blog stating that the possibility of Peladeau’s ownership is the real reason Quebec City failed to get the Nordiques back. Now comes positive proof that I was right. Recently the NHL held elections to fill two vacancies on its Executive Committee and Mark Chipman of the Winnipeg Jets was chosen along with Geoff Molson.

Such elections are usually minor events that only people within the NHL pay close attention to. But in this case Quebec Nordiques fans should pay close attention. It proves my contention made in several articles written for this blog that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL Board would back Geoff Molson to the hilt. They knew he could not stand to see Pierre Karl Peladeau as a member of the NHL Board and have acted accordingly. And since Peladeau made no attempt to reconcile with Molson and the other Board members he offended, he took down the dreams of every Quebec Nordiques fan (Right across Canada too. The Nordiques probably have fans in every province.) with him. One wonders if he was ever really sincere about returning the Nordiques. His action of publicly denouncing a man on racial grounds and then seeking to become his business partner on a board of governors is the height of absurdity.

Fortunately for Nordiques fans, while Molson may be anti-Peladeau, he is not anti-Quebec. He wants the Montreal-Quebec rivalry to return and he wants his share of that $500 million expansion fee. If an appropriate owner can be found he will support a returned Nordiques to the NHL.

But his election to the Executive Committee of the NHL confirms the real reason why Quebec currently does not have the Nordiques back. The NHL wants Quebec City, not Peladeau. I suspect that Gary Bettman is currently working behind the scenes trying to find a suitable ownership group. How long that will take and if it is possible is still to be determined.

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2 thoughts on “Election Of Molson Proves The REAL Reason Quebecor Was Turned Down

  1. The NHL is a business. Geoffrey Molson surely has a thick enough skin not to scuttle a business deal because of a personal insult (if he doesn’t, he must never be able to read or listen to sports coverage in Montreal).

    Quebec City’s expansion has been delayed because of money. The NHL signed a huge deal with SN and TVA for Canadian broadcasting rights until 2025. If the NHL adds another Canadian team now, they are giving SN and TVA better ratings for free for the next 9 years, while having to split the revenue with the new team. If the NHL waits to expand to Quebec until closer to 2025, the NHL can say, “since we will be offering more Canadian teams and games, you need to pay us more for broadcast rights.”

    Another issue is that Quebecor is listed on a stock exchange. This means that a lot of financial information about any hockey team owned by Quebecor would have to be made public by law to avoid insider trading. The NHL *hates* publicizing financial information because it can be used against them by the NHLPA, broadcasters, cities like Glendale, and anyone else trying to negotiate a deal with the NHL or its owners. As an example, the NHL always flatly denies the Forbes Magazine estimates of NHL team worth, even though the magazine is almost always proven right whenever financial information leaks out.

    The last issue is of course that the NHL’s owners are always trying to get better arena deals, and this works better with a relocation threat. Quebec City is a much better relocation threat than the NHL’s next best alternative (Seattle with no arena? Kansas City with no fans?) The NHL will be in no hurry to expand to Quebec until Seattle gets an arena plan approved.

    • Thanks for commenting “Goaltender”. There is much of what you say that is valid, but you minimize some of my points. First, you cannot underestimate the importance of the racial problem. Sure Molson has a thick hide, but the NHL (and the NBA, NFL, MLB) cannot afford to get into any racial/religious controversies. It would open up potential lawsuits, damage morale, create conflict with the NHLPA and other employees. The NHL cannot have an owner with even so much as a SNIFF of racism. Gary Bettman’s rejection of Quebecor became automatic because of that comment/image unless Peladeau made a conversion/repentance on the scale of St. Paul. Second, (which I have listed on other articles) is that Peladeau obstructed a business associate of Molson’s, adding fuel to the fire. So there is more than racist remarks here. Third, $500 million is simply too much money to turn down unless the NHL absolutely had to which the racist remark was. As mentioned in other articles, Bettman is probably working behind the scenes to find a suitable owner for Quebec. The NHL including Molson wants that $500 million and they want it now. Your point about broadcasting problems is valid but that has been the case since the first expansion in 1967 when Vancouver was excluded. The NHL has divided the broadcasting pie 8 ways before in Canada and they won’t hesitate to do it again with 500 million good reasons to do so. You might have a valid point about relocation too, but which team is planning to relocate? It also has to be an eastern conference team. Carolina, Florida, NYI, New Jersey, Columbus? Nobody has announced any plans to relocate in the near future and unlike the NFL, the NHL fights tooth and nail to keep franchises in their current cities (see Arizona) unless they absolutely have to. Finally the NHL and Bettman’s personal integrity is on the line in the Quebec situation. In 2010 he made a tour of Winnipeg, Hartford, and Quebec and offered them terms for readmission. Quebec has tried to comply. You do not tell important politicians like the Quebec City mayor, the Provincial Premier and other important officials and businessmen to spend nearly $400 million taxpayers dollars on an arena and then turn them down without a valid reason (in this case an unsuitable owner). For that reason alone, Bettman has to find a suitable owner and get Quebec into the league as soon as possible. Thanks for reading an commenting on this article. Feel free to reply or comment on other articles.

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