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The Return of the Quebec Nordiques Imminent? Major News Emerges in the NHL

Published February 25, 2024 at 12:09

Surprisingly, despite an absolutely sensational season from the Winnipeg Jets, boasting a record of 35-15-5 and being legitimate contenders for the top honors this year, the organization is seriously struggling to fill its 16,345-person amphitheater.

Since the Jets' return to Alberta, following the franchise's move from Atlanta to Winnipeg, things have not been going exactly as planned in terms of crowd attendance.

In fact, the average attendance this season is only 13,098 spectators, which is the second worst in the NHL behind the Arizona Coyotes. It says a lot when the worst team plays in a home of 4,600 seats and is the laughingstock of the league.

Another revealing factor of the organization's notable difficulties is the fact that season ticket subscriptions have dropped from about 13,000 to about 9,500 over the last three seasons.

The Jets could be in hot water

Mark Chipman, President of True North Sports & Entertainment, discussed the team's situation and its future with The Athletic. A very clear message was sent to the fans, which quite well suggests a big cloud is currently hanging over the organization.

"I would not be honest with you if I did not say: 'We need to get back to 13,000.' The situation we are currently in does not work in the long term."

Chipman adds that the NHL would be nosing into the Jets' affairs and closely monitoring the situation.

"They see the numbers. They see where the league is and where we are. We are an exception right now. So, rightly, they want to know what we are doing? What is happening? What has happened and what are we doing about it?"

Are the Jets at risk of another relocation?

Regarding another possible relocation of the franchise, as was the case in 1996, Chipman had mentioned in an interview with CBC a few months ago that it was not an option, at least, for now.

"Because it happened once, is it worrying that it could happen again because we are the smallest market [in the NHL]? I would say: not on our watch."

Even if the Jets were not to suffer the same fate as in 1996, it must be said that the current situation is really not a good look for a potential return of the Nordiques to Quebec.

Like the city of Quebec, Winnipeg represents a small Canadian market, and this experience of bringing back a franchise that had previously disappeared for economic reasons, has possibly become a lesson for Commissioner Gary Bettman, who is known for having a long memory.

Nevertheless, it is somewhat ridiculous that the Jets are a franchise that is subject to particular attention from the NHL despite a certain financial turnover, while a franchise like the Coyotes, which has never been profitable, benefits from Bettman's boundless patience.

Credit: Habs et LNH
February 25   |   469 answers
The Return of the Quebec Nordiques Imminent? Major News Emerges in the NHL

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