QUEBEC CITY -- Videotron Centre was packed with fans to see Team North America play Team Europe in a pretournament game at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 on Thursday, but there seemed to be another message in their appearance in an arena dotted with Nordiques jerseys.
They want NHL hockey here.
"I think it's a first-rate NHL arena," said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who was on hand. "It would be fantastic for an NHL team."
Quebec City took part in the recent NHL expansion process but was not awarded a team in June. Las Vegas was the only location chosen to begin play in the 2017-18 NHL season.
"I think while I'm sure they (Quebec City) would have wanted the answer to be different last June, they understand the reasons that we did what we did, and we're going to continue to work together going forward," Daly said.
Daly praised Videotron Centre, an arena that was built with some input from the NHL. It, he said, was never an impediment to Quebec City getting a team. The problem is that the issues which prevented it remain.
"The time those conditions were important was the time we were making those decisions," Daly said. "I think I would say probably the most important of those situations hasn't resolved itself and can't really resolve itself without a further expansion, and that's the geographic imbalance. So I think that was a huge hurdle that this expansion application had from the start. I think we were upfront about that."
Las Vegas will become the 15th team in the Western Conference; the Eastern Conference has 16 teams.
So when can those Quebec City fans expect to get a team?
"I wish I knew," Daly said. "I can't give you that answer. I was actually asked at customs today whether I was coming to announce the Nordiques coming back. I said, 'Not today.' But hopefully at some point in my career."