Quebec still longs for its lost hockey team, a nationalist symbol

Related media – Related media

Mr. Simard spoke as he watched a game played by Quebec’s junior league team, the Remparts, at the Vidéotron Centre, the expensive arena that provincial and city leaders built in 2015 with public funds to show the NHL how committed they were to creating a team. .

But if fans of Simard’s generation tended to share his feelings toward the Nordics, the team’s significance didn’t seem to resonate with the younger hockey fans in the arena, many of whom were born after the team’s departure.

“I’m a Montreal Canadiens fan, while my dad still has the Nordics on his mind,” says Mathis Drolet, 17, a student who grew up in Quebec.

His friend, Justin Tremblay, 17, said he was aware of how Northerners were tied to the aspirations of previous generations – “Quebec wants to be a nation and all that” – but those hopes seemed distant to him.

“These are things we learned in school,” Mr. Tremblay said.

Located in the league’s smallest market — the Quebec metropolitan area now numbers about 800,000 people — the Nordiques struggled financially for years and left for Denver in 1995. In the team’s first season in the United States, renamed the Colorado Avalanche, it won the Stanley Cup. – worsening the sense of betrayal in Quebec.

Associated media – Associated media