For years, whenever the Florida Panthers had a home crowd which did not look too good on television, catcalls from critics about hockey in the tropics usually led to the same response: Move them to Quebec City.
Well, the Panthers are going to Quebec City.
For a preseason game.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Kings announced it would hold its 2024-25 training camp in Quebec City with two exhibition games being played at the city’s NHL-ready arena.
Quebec City has been without an NHL team of its own since the beloved Nordiques moved to Denver in 1995 and became the Colorado Avalanche.
To add insult to injury, the newly-minted Avs won the Stanley Cup in its very first year outside of Quebec.
Colorado swept the Panthers in 1996.
In 2012, Quebec City broke ground on a 18,259-seat arena to try and lure the NHL back to town.
Now called the Videotron Centre, the arena opened in 2015 and has hosted numerous hockey events — including preseason games.
But it is the third-largest arena in North America (Cleveland and Portland) without an NHL team.
The new arena replaced the famed Colisée de Québec which held over 15,000 for hockey and was home to the Nordiques from their start in the WHA in 1972 until they left for Denver.
The Kings will be the first team to hold their training camp there — and they have a financial incentive to do so.
According to various news reports, the Quebec government is giving Los Angeles up to $7 million in tax subsidies to come to town.
The Montreal Canadiens apparently offered to play preseason games in Quebec City for free — but were turned down.
There is no word on how much the Panthers will be paid for this special trip to Quebec for a preseason game but they probably are not going for free.
Florida, which has flown to Canada for special NHL preseason games the past couple of years, could use this trip to perhaps play other exhibition games either in Canada or somewhere else up north.
The Panthers have played a rotation of preseason games against Nashville, Carolina and Tampa Bay over the past decade.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS @ LOS ANGELES KINGS
- When: Thursday, 10:30 p.m.
- Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
- Last season: Los Angeles won 2-0
- This season: @Los Angeles, Thursday; @Florida Jan. 11
- All-time regular season series: Los Angeles leads 25-14-0, 3 ties