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Quebec rejects Montreal Canadiens, pays millions for L.A. Kings to play games in Quebec City

Rather than accept the Montreal Canadiens' offer to play free games in Quebec City next season, the government has chosen to offer up to $7 million for the California-based L.A. Kings to do so instead.

The Canadiens confirmed to CTV News the reports first made in La Presse that they offered to play for free at the Videotron Centre but were refused.

Instead, Quebec is slated to pay between $5 and $7 million for two L.A. Kings games, with Finance Minister Éric Girard saying the benefits will be worth it.

He adds that events like the Presidents Cup golf tournament and the Formula 1 race in Montreal both receive subsidies.

Nevertheless, negative reaction to the news was swift on social media.

"Only in Quebec would you snub a local team for a foreign one," read a reply from one user on the X platform. "Doesn't seem to apply for students though."

The Kings are scheduled to play from Oct. 2 to 6 in Quebec City, with tickets ranging from $55 to $170.

The team's president, Luc Robitaille, is a Montreal native, and there are currently two Quebecers on the roster: Philip Danault from Victoriaville and Pierre-Luc Dubois from Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts.

The last time an exhibition game was held at the Videotron Centre was in 2018, when the Canadiens hosted the Washington Capitals.


Opposition parties in Quebec City were quick to criticize the decision to spend taxpayer dollars to bring the Kings to town.

Quebec Solidaire (QS) leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois accused the CAQ government of spending money on the NHL rather than on those who are struggling.

"Yes, I love hockey, but not at this price," Nadeau-Dubois wrote on X.

Quebec Conservative Party (CPQ) leader Eric Duhaime called the plan "indecent," and demanded it be cancelled.

"The CAQ doesn't have extra money for its employees or taxpayers, but it does have billions of dollars for batter multinationals and millions of dollars for an American NHL team," he wrote on Facebook. "The CH is ready to come to Quebec for free. This is insulting to Quebecers."

He added that it's insulting to those struggling to pay grocery bills due to inflation or young families stressing about having to renew a mortgage after interest rates have risen.

"It's insulting for the teacher who is told that the government doesn't have a penny more for her pay rise, but it has millions to allow a multimillionaire American professional hockey team to train at the Centre Vidéotron," he said.

Liberal MNA Gregory Kelley said on social media that food banks are currently asking for $8 million.

"Thousands of Quebecers are hungry," he wrote. "It's more important than two hockey games."

Parti Quebecois (PQ) MNA Joel Arsenau was "without words" at the decision to spend money on a hockey game while the CAQ is abolishing a program for maintaining "essential" regional air services.

"We are talking about very similar amounts," wrote Arsenau on X. "The government pays for the Kings' trip to QC, but cuts the wings of regional air transport." 

-- with files from CTV News' Kelly Greig. Top Stories

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