Videotron Centre (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Quebec City doesn’t know yet if they’ll have an NHL expansion franchise in the coming years, but one thing that’s for sure is NHL hockey will be played at the Videotron Centre for one night next season. The Canadiens and Bruins will meet in Quebec City for a pre-season game in October.
There’s not yet any official word on whether or not an expansion team will be granted to Quebec City for the 2017-18 season, but NHL hockey will be played at the Videotron Centre as early as next season.
The Montreal Canadiens announced Tuesday that they will head to Quebec City on Oct. 4 for a pre-season game against the Boston Bruins. The contest will mark the second-consecutive season the Habs have hosted an exhibition game at the Quebec City arena, and the seventh such time since the 2009-10 season. It’s become a pre-season tradition for the Canadiens to head to Quebec City for at least one game of their exhibition schedule. However, that tradition could be coming to a close and the October 2016 pre-season contest could potentially be the final time the Canadiens are the home side at a game played in Quebec City.
If the NHL decides to expand to Quebec’s capital, the Videotron Centre will become the home of the new Canadian franchise and a place where the Canadiens are one of the most despised visiting teams.
A window into what could be awaiting the Canadiens should Quebec City get a team — the new Nordiques, as the potential team has been referred to — was opened during the pre-season of the current campaign when the Canadiens played the first ever NHL contest at the Videotron Centre against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. During that game, the Canadiens were both booed and cheered, likely as fans warmed up their vocal cords for the potential return of a team of their own.
Canadiens centre David Desharnais, 29, told the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey that the boos could have been expected. Desharnais told Hickey he remembered his “father would get into arguments with some family members who were Nordiques fans. He was always for the Canadiens.”
The pre-season game will almost assuredly be a sellout. Last season’s exhibition contest had a capacity crowd of more than 18,000.