Quebec Arena Plans Announced

Officials in Quebec City have announced construction plans for a new arena with hopes that an NHL team might be lured back to the provincial capital.

Mayor Regis Labeaume said during an Oct. 16 news conference that the city has hired engineering firm SNC Lavalin to conduct a feasibility study for the project.

Labeaume called Quebec’s aging Colisee Pepsi arena a “relic from another era.”

“The time has come to offer our population a modern arena … A modern nordic city needs a modern arena,” he said, adding that without an updated venue, Quebec “can’t be an Olympic candidate city … we can’t hope to realize a dream of the NHL returning without it.”

Construction costs for the project could reportedly run as high as $400 million for an 18,000-seat, multipurpose LEED-concept facility, with funding coming from city, federal and provincial governments, officials said.

However, there are still no guarantees that hockey will come back if Quebec builds the venue.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the Toronto Sun Quebec could be in the running for a team if a franchise opportunity presents itself, but the city won’t be the lone contender.

“The fact is, the lines of communications are open,” Bettman said. “We understand the possibilities but we’re not in a position to make any promises at this time other than: If we’re going to be in a situation either by relocation or expansion where a franchise is a possibility, these are markets that are going to be looked at seriously.”

Groundbreaking on the venue could occur as soon as next year and construction timelines estimate the project could be completed by 2012.