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Gary Bettman says the NHL won’t get involved in Quebec arena politics

Gary Bettman Press Conference

CHICAGO - MAY 28: National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference at the United Center on May 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Daniel

Funding expensive arenas like the new $400 billion building the Edmonton Oilers want to construct almost naturally brings about some politicking. Big wigs in the Quebec area are trying to drum enough federal and local support to build a new arena in part to bring the NHL back to the region after losing their beloved Quebec Nordiques.

Gary Bettman and the NHL seem open minded to the idea if the province does, indeed, add a new arena. Bettman says he isn’t interested in getting tangled up in the mess that comes with actually getting that arena built, though. The Hockey News shares the story.

“I’ve followed very closely the articles, I’ve seen the cartoons and, as we’ve said, if the right circumstances presented themselves, we would like to find a way to go back to Quebec City,” Bettman told a news conference in Ottawa, where he announced that the Senators will host the 2012 all-star weekend.

“The issue obviously is the need for a new arena, because in the absence of a new arena it is not possible for us to go back,” Bettman continued. “How a new arena gets built, who pays for it, is not something we’re getting involved in.”

Bettman admitted that he spoke with Quebec City Mayor Regis Lebeaume, saying that the conversations were “very cordial, very open.” That doesn’t necessarily mean anything will happen, though, but obviously the league has its eyes on the situation.

It would be great to see a new team in Canada, especially if doesn’t cost another fan base its team. Could Quebec be the first new team above the border? We’ll have to see, but the NHL apparently won’t do their dirty work.