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Quebec City goes under the microscope

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Quebec City’s brand new arena, the Videotron Centre, will host its first NHL game tonight when the Montreal Canadiens meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in preseason action.

The game, expected to be a sellout, will be played the night before representatives from both Quebec City and Las Vegas are to pitch the NHL’s executive committee as part of ongoing efforts to be awarded expansion teams.

What happens after that?

“We’ll then report to the board later on in the day in respect to the nature and the content of these presentations and where we are in the process,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Toronto Sun.

Many are eyeing December’s BOG meetings for an official announcement on expansion.

Unlike Las Vegas, Quebec City’s status as a hockey city is not in question. What does have the potential to hinder the return of the Nordiques is the Canadian dollar, which has plunged to around $0.75 U.S.

The latest on the loonie, from Reuters:

The Canadian dollar flirted with 11-year lows against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as volatile crude oil prices took a negative turn, at one point falling more than 2 percent on worries over weak global demand.

The price of crude, a major Canadian export, has plunged by more than half in the last year, ragging the loonie along some 20 percent in that time.

From the Globe and Mail:

The Canadian dollar has slid more than 25 per cent since Quebecor began assembling its bid, adding at least $165-million to the minimum $500-million (U.S.) price tag for an expansion team. A 75-cent loonie means a similar inflationary impact on player salaries.

The Nordiques, of course, left Quebec City for Colorado in 1995, due in large part to a weak Canadian dollar.

Related: Foley not expecting Vegas expansion approval at next week’s BOG