Hurricanes to Quebec City: Not So Fast!

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If we were to listen to people around Quebec, they would already have the Nordiques back playing starting next season. As we know however, nothing can be further from the truth. While one cannot blame fans and media for still being upset about losing their franchise to Colorado several years ago, we must keep in mind the reality of an eventual return of the NHL to the Capital City.

Everything points towards Quebec getting its franchise but for some reason, there seems to be a glitch preventing them from getting an expansion team. Many like myself think that the poor value of the Canadian dollar is a major factor at this point but there is much, much more involved preventing the league act immediately.

As it stands right now, the NHL has 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and only 14 in the Western Conference. The league’s biggest need is in the West and while it made some sense to send Winnipeg to that conference, Quebec simply can’t. As a matter of fact, when the league allocates a team to them, they will be in the same division as long time rivals, the Canadiens.

As only Quebec and Las Vegas have arenas and pre-sales of seasons’ tickets, Sin City has the advantage because they are located out west and that’s why they will be awarded the first expansion team to start activities as soon as the 2017-2018 season. The T-Mobile arena can accommodate 17,500 hockey fans in its venue and it is crucial for Gary Bettman to be the first major league sports franchise in town in order to gain a fan base immediately, before Major League Baseball or the NBA decide to look at that option. I woudn’t be shocked if an announcement was made during the upcoming playoffs.

Further, in spite of what Gary Bettman and Bill Daly are saying, the NHL wants to expand in Seattle and that would be their second highest priority. Located in the Pacific North-West, Seattle is a natural for a hockey team. It is relatively close to Canada and would, for that reason, attract some Canadian fans when their teams are playing there. Also, it would allow for a balanced league with 16 teams in each Conference. Unfortunately though, while six different groups had shown interest in bringing hockey there, none of those groups had a solid plan to build an arena on time for the deadline set by the NHL. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not working on one.

Hurricanes rumours

As rumoCentreVideotronurs swirl around the NHL, particularly in Quebec, about a possible move by the Carolina Hurricanes to Quebec, allow me to doubt those reports. While many people have spent countless hours and put in many efforts to investigate those reports to the point of going public with them, something just doesn’t seem to add up.

Think about it. How much effort has Gary Bettman and the NHL put into keeping a dying franchise in Phoenix and that, in spite of not even having a suitable owner? The league even owned the team for a few years in order to keep a team in this non-traditional hockey market so what makes people think for a minute that that same Bettman would be so quick at pulling the plug on Carolina, a hockey market who has won a Stanley Cup, a franchise which was drawing fans when winning?

It’s okay to want a team but desperation cannot overcome logic, in my opinion. Yes, the NHL will eventually return to Quebec City but it is doubtful that the league will jump the gun on Carolina too quickly. Fans and media in Quebec will have to be patient… a task harder said than done.

Las Vegas Is Not For Everyone

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Vegas beats at a crazy rhythm, with high density traffic and side-walks filled to the point where it’s difficult to walk, let alone observe what’s around. Lights, horns, people dressed up as different characters all hoping for suckers to give them money to have their picture taken with them. It’s merchants fighting to get your money, with prices varying from dirt cheap to outrageously high for the same item(s).

Vegas is a range of enormous hotels displaying their glamour in hope that people will walk in and spend their money in their Casino, restaurants and/or boutiques. It is a big party where drinking on the street is not only legal, but it’s recommended. It is escorts’ pimps trying to fill your pockets with cards with half-nudes, hoping that you have had enough to drink to risk calling the number on the card.

Las-Vegas

If you’re in your 20’s and still on the party scene, or if you have never grown past that stage of your life, Vegas might be for you. If you are a gambler, Vegas also might be for you. If you are a bachelor looking for a place to have a great time, you may like the set-up.

But you see, I’m a bush guy, one who loves nature, silence and peaceful settings. I love the smell of the wilderness and looking at wildlife in its natural element. I’m a hunter, a fisherman, a camper. I’m also one who hates big crowds and shopping. Las Vegas, to me, was a big disappointment in spite of its magnitude and unbelievable attempts at visual impressions.

Not all negative

Even for someone like me though, Vegas had some things to offer. The food was outstanding as it seems like hotels are so competitive that they all but literally fight to get your business at their buffet tables. For less than what fast food costs anywhere in Canada (or the US for that matter), you get a full buffet with tons of selection.

One experience that I would recommend to anyone visiting Las Vegas is the downtown experience, especially at night. Fremont is basically the old Vegas Strip but the biggest difference being that the street is closed to traffic, leaving the entire area to pedestrian. It alleviates the condensation off the side-walks and allows for better set-ups for stages and entertainment. It’s like everyone is part of a big party, with people from all diversity in race and language spoken, but all sharing the same experience.

Bands, arts and all sorts of other entertainments mix in between Hotel and Casinos, as well as boutiques and restaurants. Further, there was an hourly 10 minute show presented on a screen which runs the entire length and width of Fremont. It was definitely one of my most positive experiences out there.

Here’s a video of a bartender I have met on Fremont. His name is Kristian and he was absolutely amazing! See for yourself!

Grandiose Canyon

If you are going to Las Vegas, please ensure to book some time to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon. If money is no issue, you probably want to enquire about their numerous helicopter tours but if you’re on a bit of a budget, a bus tour to the South end of the Grand Canyon might just be what the doctor ordered. This will keep you busy for an entire day and it promises to give you an experience of a lifetime.

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The scenery is breath taking with multitudes of places to take outstanding photos. Taking the walk of approximately 2½ hours on a paved path will make you discover some of the most beautiful places where rock formations were formed millions of years ago. There are countless spots along the way where you will want to stop and take unique pictures of yourself or your loved ones.

To me, the Grand Canyon was the highlight of the trip. Still though, this country boy cannot be happier than finally being back home.