Bring back the Nords

This is an open letter to Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League. I am hoping to woo him. Wish me luck.

Dear Sir, please accept this letter as a formal request, a plea if you will, respectfully speaking of course, to accept Quebecor’s application to return the Quebec Nordiques to the people of Quebec City, but equally as important, to the great love of my life, the Carpenter. You’ve never met him, but you would like him. Everyone does, really. He’s a good guy. When it comes to his sports teams, he’s loyal to the core in good times and bad; a true fan of the underdogs, (a great metaphor for our relationship, but I digress).

For reasons I cannot explain, the Carpenter always was and always will be a die-hard Quebec Nordiques fan, (and I use that adjective with full knowledge of the irony therein). When the Nordiques foreclosed and moved to Colorado to form the Avalanche, it was a dark day for the Carpenter. Not only did Joe Sackic cross the border, but the teams foreclosure crushed my man’s hockey dreams. And by crushed, I mean squashed them, strained through a colander, threw the pulp in a blender, poured it on hot asphalt and then had a truck run over the remains. You think I’m exaggerating, but you weren’t there.

Eventually, with time and the bribe of a new Colorado Avalanche jersey with number nineteen and Sackic embroidered on the back, the Carpenter came to terms with the new geography of his old team. On our wedding day, he wore that jersey to pair up with my Toronto Maple Leaf jersey and we wore it for our first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter.

You’ll forgive me, Sir, but it wasn’t long after that memorable moment that my love of all things NHL dwindled. Hockey player strikes, Americanization of the sport, and the inflated egos that inflated ticket prices straight through the roof left me jaded and disheartened. I let go of my love for NHL hockey. But the Carpenter has not. And my love for the Carpenter is the centre of everything I do, hence this note.

Now I know Las Vegas is the city of sin, land of excess and all, but it’s really just a glorified desert.  There is no soul there. How can hockey thrive in a place without history for the sport? (If you’d like a refresher in the history of Canada’s national sport, I’d be happy to draft a Power Point presentation). Do we really have time to teach another audience of high rollers why this game matters? Please, stop the marketing machine insanity. I know it’s all about money for you, but for some, hockey is culture and history, not just profit margins.

Give the Quebec Nordiques back to the people of Quebec and one really adorable Carpenter in Ontario. I promise you the rivalry between Montreal and Quebec City will be worth it. Besides, Toronto fans can despise another Quebec team. Plus, my country will have another bartering chip in future national debates around Quebec separatism (I can make a Power Point on that too, if it helps). It’s an election year after all.

Mr. Bettman, restore my faith and give me a reason to believe you care about hockey, for hockey’s sake. Give the Carpenter back his team. Merci.



Kelly Waterhouse