DENVER | Those who still hope to see an NHL team in Quebec in the near future can stop dreaming. Unless Eric Girard, the provincial finance minister, managed to get Wayne Gretzky to listen to Gary Bettman.
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Nothing really emerged from the meeting between Eric Girard and Gary Bettman, held on May 19 in New York. Passing through the Big Apple to meet American bank investors, Mr. Girard took the opportunity to detour to the NHL offices and apparently keep the communication channels open.
A courtesy meeting that Girard himself had defined as “extremely positive”.
On the sidelines of the first game of the Stanley Cup final, held Wednesday night in Denver, the NHL commissioner and his assistant, Bill Daly, indulged in their traditional press conference. A golden opportunity to find out what had happened within the four walls of the building on 9th Avenue for the return of Mr. Girard so happy.
“Actually, I have to divide this meeting into two parts,” Bettman said when this writer asked. The first was to reiterate that there was nothing new about a team’s return to Quebec or the idea of organizing matches there. [de saison régulière]. “
“The second, and probably the one he found most exciting, was when, by chance, Wayne Gretzky showed up in the building. I know the Minister is a huge hockey fan. So I asked Wayne to come into the office and meet the minister. He and Wayne were able to have a great discussion. “
And apparently it was not the time for a session worthy of the great seduction.
“They exchanged small talk [small talks] Bettman said.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had little to say about hockey’s return to Quebec.
Nothing new with the Senses
Citing possible regular season games played in the Old Capital, Bettman was referring to this rumor released at the end of March according to which some Senators games could be played at the Videotron Center.
“Yes, the idea was launched, but it never came close to being realized. It was nothing that Eugene Melnyk approved or that he came close to doing, “Bettman said.
Furthermore, it ensures that the granting of federal capital is always stable, despite the death of its owner, which occurred on March 28. “Mr. Melnyk bequeathed the concession to his daughters. It works in the normal course of things. I know the senators are involved in a trial to see if there might be an opportunity to build a new amphitheater on LeBreton Flats. Nothing has changed. “
Finance Minister Eric Girard (right) and his Deputy Minister Pierre Côté during a meeting with Wayne Gretzky at the NHL offices in New York on May 19.
Gang rape under investigation
In a completely different register, MM. Daly and Bettman have claimed to be active in the gang rape scandal that has rocked Hockey Canada in recent weeks.
“We are in contact with the NHL Players Association. So far, the association has been very cooperative in organizing and facilitating the interviews we conduct with each of the players. [qui évoluait au sein] of this team, “Daly said. Of course, we are also in contact with Hockey Canada. So the process is underway.”
We recall that on May 26, TSN reporter Rick Westhead revealed that Hockey Canada had solved an alleged gang rape involving eight junior hockey players who assaulted a young woman after a gala organized by the organization in June 2018.
Asked how long the NHL had been aware of this story, Bettman replied, “Exactly when the lawsuit was filed. We didn’t know until then. We have charges from one anonymous party against eight anonymous parties. It is a difficult situation. But we didn’t know until then. “