Montreal — It remains a distant dream, but fans nostalgic for the long-departed Quebec Nordiques may yet have a new NHL team to cheer for.
And so may football fans in Quebec’s provincial capital.
A development consortium is flogging a $660-million plan to construct a recreational complex that would include a CFL-ready outdoor football stadium, a state-of-the art hockey installation and a hotel and retail complex in a suburb west of the city.
Quebec Liberal leader Jean Charest, who is running for re-election as premier, promised to kick in $50-million in public money to help finance a new arena project if he wins on Dec. 8.
It’s no coincidence Charest is making the announcement in the middle of a campaign – his party was decimated in the Quebec City area and is trying to curry favour with voters by stoking the hope that a spiffy new athletic complex would go a long way to winning a bid for the Winter Olympics (Quebec vied unsuccessfully to host the 2010 Games).
And the whole enterprise is being greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism in la vieille capitale, where speculation over the return of professional hockey and appearance of professional football has raged for years – with little or no progress.