Bettman mum on expansion, but Quebec City makes too much sense

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NHL expansion to Quebec City is coming. Because, well, it just has to be.

No, maybe it’s not coming in the short term, as commissioner Gary Bettman maintained today. But in the next few years? Again, it just has to be. That, or a team relocates to Quebec City.

Consider:

— Construction is already underway on a new 18,000-seat arena in Quebec City. It’s set to open in 2015.

— The NHL’s return to Winnipeg has been a fantastic success. According to Forbes, the Jets are the 16th-most valuable team in the league, despite playing in a market comparable in size to Quebec City and in an arena that barely seats 15,000.

— The NHL’s new Canadian TV deal makes TVA Sports the new home of all national French-language broadcasts. TVA Sports, in case you were wondering, is a subsidiary of Quebecor Media, a conglomerate that’s controlled by the very wealthy Pierre Karl Péladeau, who hasn’t exactly been secretive about his NHL ambitions.

— The Nordiques left for Colorado in 1995. But as the Conference Board of Canada points out, things have changed since then. Most notably, the Canadian dollar has risen to around parity with the U.S. dollar, and the NHL has a salary cap now.

Add it all up and young hockey fans who never got to experience the inter-provincial rivalry between the Nords and the Canadiens could be in for a treat.

And the NHL could be in for another windfall.

Related: Quebec City mayor remains optimistic about NHL return