Prime Minister Stephen Harper gestures while speaking at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce conference on the economy in Toronto on Wednesday, October 21, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
ST-GEORGES, Que. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he'd like to see more National Hockey League teams in Canada.
The first question Harper faced during a news conference in Quebec's Beauce region Friday was about a plan to bring back the defunct Quebec Nordiques.
"Of course, as a big hockey fan I would certainly like to see more teams created here in Canada," the prime minister replied.
"I think the cities of Quebec, Hamilton and Winnipeg are all able to support a team."
However, Harper said questions about hockey franchises would be better addressed to the NHL - not to him.
He added that he didn't want to be dragged into a local political debate.
Quebec City is in the middle of a municipal election and its incumbent mayor, Regis Labeaume, is campaigning on a promise to build a modern arena that could attract an NHL team.
Labeaume wants the provincial and federal governments to fund almost all of its projected $400 million cost.
The city lost its Nordiques in the 1990s.