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NORDS REJECT GOVERNMENT'S OFFER -- ALL SIGNS SAYS DENVER
Published May 17, 1995
"Barring some unforeseen event, it's all over for the Quebec Nordiques as an NHL franchise north of the U.S. border," according to Robert McKenzie in today's TORONTO STAR. The team "bluntly rejected" a C$50M "rescue package" proposed by the Quebec provincial government yesterday, and according to Quebec's two main TV networks (TVA and Radio Canada), the team could be sold to Comsat Video Enterprises and moved to Denver as early as Friday (TORONTO STAR, 5/17). ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH HOPES: A close friend of Nordiques Co-Owner Marcel Aubut told the DENVER POST that Aubut believes there is a "99 percent chance the team will move to Denver." According to Aubut's friend, the price of the sale to Comsat, reportedly $75M, is said to be more in the $65- 70M range. If the sale goes through, Aubut stands to clear about $15M in profit (Adrian Dater, DENVER POST, 5/17). The DENVER POST reported yesterday that a source who spoke with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was told that "Bettman would be 'shocked' if the team didn't move to Denver" (DENVER POST, 5/16). One source close to Aubut told the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS that Aubut "might continue to work with the team, as a consultant, once it is sold to Comsat" (Curtis Eichelberger, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/17). Aubut: "The Nordiques' owners don't want what happened in Winnipeg to repeat itself in Quebec" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/17). PENCIL THEM IN? One NHL GM reports that he received a tentative '95-96 NHL schedule with Denver included (DENVER POST, 5/17). NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus denied such a schedule exists (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/17). THE DEAD DEAL: The Quebec government offered to pay up to $7M of the team's debts over each of the next two years, and to come up with another $7M for a third year should they decide to build a new arena. In addition, the government has also offered to cover 70% of the difference if the team must be sold in two years at a price lower that the current offers. But the offer did not come with conditions. Over the next two years, the team would have to show that it can sell 80 corporate boxes, get a "rein on rampaging player salaries" and show what measures the league would take to help small market teams. Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau said those conditions seemed to be the sticking point (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/17). Parizeau: "These are things you have to try, but you can't be taken by the ambition of certain people whose eyes become bigger than their appetite. It didn't work. I deplore it, but the episode is closed" (Adrian Dater, DENVER POST, 5/17). FAN REAX: In Montreal, Philip Authier reports that fans are planning a demonstration today in front of the National Assembly to "press the government." Yesterday, Urbain Johnson, one of the Nordiques founders, said he has a 75,000-name petition "urging more government help that he wants to give the Premier" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/17).