The math doesn't add up for the NHL to return to Quebec City, according to Boston Bruins owner and NHL executive committee chairman Jeremy Jacobs.
Speaking at an end-of-season press conference Wednesday, Jacobs was questioned on a variety of topics, including the potential for Quebec City to resurface as an NHL market. He saw little hope in the prospect.
"Quebec is challenged, to put it nicely," Jacobs told reporters. "Look at the income base and the population base. There probably isn't a smaller market, so they're really going to have to distinguish themselves in some other way."
The NHL played out of the Quebec capital from 1979 until 1995, when financial concerns forced a relocation. The Nordiques were uprooted to Denver and rebranded as the Colorado Avalanche.
Attempts have been made to bring the NHL back to Quebec City, including the unveiling of the 18,000-seat Videotron Centre, a new arena built to league standards that opened its doors in 2015.
During the NHL's most recent expansion process, Quebec City's bid was deferred because of the declining Canadian dollar and a need to correct the league's geographic imbalance.
Now the NHL could be preparing to add a 32nd team. But it appears Quebec City is once again on the back burner, with the league primarily focused on the Pacific Northwest and the addition of a team in Seattle.
"You look at Houston and you look at (Quebec), it's the fifth largest city in North America versus the 105th, let's say, so they have a different situation there," Jacobs added. "Economically, they're challenged and numerically there is challenge to them. They just don't have the numbers.
"But we've got enthusiastic fans there, there is no doubt about that. It's a great market and I'm not being critical of it."
If economic challenges were a hurdle for Quebec City during the NHL's last open-expansion bid, the push for a return could be even trickier this time. Potential ownership in Seattle, backed by American billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer, would have to pay a $650-million expansion fee. That's $150 million more than the Golden Knights paid in 2017.