When the NHL announced earlier this year that they would be exploring expansion and welcoming bids, it was expected that four or five cities would apply for an expansion team. However, only two cities followed through with Las Vegas and Quebec City being the two. Vegas is the unproven market with a higher ceiling and the advantage that the NHL can be the first major professional sports league to have a team in Sin City. Quebec City is the area with the obvious appetite for hockey, with history and a brand new arena on its side.
It's obvious the NHL wants a team in Vegas for the reasons stated above and the fact that they need more teams out west to balance out the league. While the NHL would get some success from a team in Quebec, the low Canadian dollar is an obstacle for a possible Quebec franchise. Also keep in mind, that while Quebec would be a safe option, there's not much room for a Quebec fanbase to grow. While they may get some fans in the Maritimes, the Montreal Canadiens occupy a lot of the fanbase of eastern Canada, with a whole generation having grown up with the Habs, so growth for a Quebec City market is tough.
There is obviously going to be the immediate nostalgia factor that will kick in. Many will suggest it'd be absurd to have any name other than Nordiques should a franchise come to Quebec City, but we're going to give it a shot. The prospective owners of a new Quebec franchise (Quebecor) have said the name will be Les Nordiques, but here we're going to give them some other suggestions, should they change their mind and explore other possibilities.
Maybe a new team in La Belle Province means a new identity and to build a brand that will be associated with winning, unlike the Nordiques name that soon became associated with playoff shortcomings and painfully for the fans of Quebec, winning the Stanley Cup right after their move to Denver.
With the NHL's goal to expand and Quebec having submitted a strong claim however, it seems likely the province will get a second team. If/when they do, here are 15 possible names to go with.
15 Aces (Les As)
This is a name yet to be used in any professional sports league in North America. The lynx would make for a cool logo and the animal is seen across Quebec in forests. It also can be said the same way in both French and English, which will make it easier for those outside Quebec to pronounce the name. At least native Quebecers wouldn't have to hear their team name get butchered.
9 Beavers (Castors)
8 Acadians (Acadiens)
7 Snowy Owls (Harfangs)
4 Rouge et Or
3 Rebels (Rebelles)
2 Patriots (Patriotes)
As great as some of the other names would be (or terrible, you tell me) there is only one name that Quebecers would fully embrace and that's the Nordiques. They were originally called the Nordiques because they were one of the northernmost professional sports teams in North America. This is the name that Quebec fans have in their hearts and ultimately, this would be the name they would go with if the NHL return's to Quebec's capital. Still, wasn't it fun to explore some other possibilities?
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