Will Quebec Nordiques Have a Rivalry With the Avalanche?


The Quebec Nordiques are officially considered as a possible NHL expansion franchise for 2017. Since Denver somewhat stole the original franchise 20 years ago, there may be some bad blood between the new Nordiques and our Colorado Avalanche.

When your team leaves the city, the state or even the country, it is natural to feel devastated. The older you are and the more time you have spent being a fan of the team, the harder it is to see that team leave. People in Minnesota know what I am talking about. And so do those in Winnipeg and Quebec City.

Now, when you see your team leave, there are essentially three possibilities for what you could do:

  1. Keep following your team in the new location and continue cheering for your franchise.
  2. Abandon your franchise and cheer for a different team.
  3. Abandon your franchise and stop following hockey altogether.

If you choose to abandon your franchise, there are also two different ways you could now feel about the relocated version of it. You could either feel indifferent about it or actually develop hate for the new team. Because at the end of the day, it will feel like your team got stolen, moved and re-branded.

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All of the above has happened in Minnesota, Winnipeg and Quebec City. Minnesota got a new franchise in 2000, Winnipeg got one in 2011 and Quebec City is hoping to get theirs in 2017. So when those teams play against their original franchises, what do fans think?

There are many Minnesotans that hated the Dallas Stars when the franchise moved in 1993. Chances are that some still do. Others followed their star players like Mike Modano down to Texas. It’s understandable, because after all, it was still the team fans got close with.

Overall, the fanbase was and still is a mixture of different feelings. When the Dallas Stars first came to Minnesota to play against the Wild, the team got booed for a bit. But as we all know, the two don’t have a real rivalry and a Wild vs. Stars game is just a game.

The Winnipeg Jets are a very comparable case. They lost their franchise to Phoenix in 1996 and obviously Jets fans didn’t like that. It took 15 years until they got their team back. The Atlanta Thrashers moved to Manitoba and the team got their original name again.

Jets fans may not all like the Coyotes, but there also isn’t much hate. Many even feel like it is the same franchise they knew before. It just took a very long break and returned in a new, modern look. The Coyotes are a different franchise — emotionally — and there isn’t really a difference between them and any other team in the NHL.

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We can likely imagine a similar scenario in Quebec City. Fans in the French-Canadian province were extremely upset when they lost the Quebec Nordiques in 1995. Many hated the Avalanche back then, but others had too much of a bond with the franchise to completely abandon them. Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg became the faces of the Avalanche, after emerging as stars in Quebec Nordiques uniforms.

The teams’ biggest rivalry, however, was obviously the local one with the Montréal Canadiens. Chances are that a rivalry like that will reignite and the Avalanche will be a team just like any other. There may be a lot of booing when the Avalanche play their first game in Quebec City, but it will likely end rather quickly.

What really counts for fans in those cities that lost their teams to relocation, is that they have a team again. Nothing beats cheering for your local team. Rivalries are fun, but the Avalanche and Nordiques probably wouldn’t even end up in the same Conference. It would be hard to base a rivalry on two games a year.

The Quebec Nordiques may return to the NHL. While fans will have different opinions of the Colorado Avalanche, the chances are low that we will see a rivalry between those teams. It would be fun, though, so let’s just wait and see.

Do you think there would be a rivalry between the Quebec Nordiques and the Colorado Avalanche? Let us know in the comments!

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