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Viva Quebec! Fans make pilgrimage to Hockeytown

Saturday, 04.7.2012 / 4:58 PM ET
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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More than 700 hockey fans made their way from Quebec City to cheer for the Red Wings Saturday and to lobby for an NHL franchise. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
If the objective was to be seen – and heard – the large group clad in blue T-shirts and jerseys adorned with fleur-de-lis emblems, sure got their message across to the nationally televised audience at a sold-out Joe Louis Arena on Saturday afternoon.

More than 700 fans of the former Nordiques organization made the exhausting 725-mile road trip from Quebec on 14 busses to attend the Red Wings season finale – a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Genevieve Malenfant, of Quebec City, said the group known as Nordiques Nation, wants the NHL to return to the capital city, which is the second most populated city in Quebec after Montreal.

“I’m here for my Wings, of course,” said Malenfant, decked out in Red Wings’ gear. “But we are here because we want to have our team, the Nordiques, like we did 17 years ago. We want to have our hockey team back in Quebec.”

According to Richard Levesque, who attended Saturday’s game with his son, Detroit was the fifth and final NHL city on the group’s North American tour this season, having also visited Newark, Miami, Ottawa and Boston.

“We like for the Red Wings Detroit to win the game,” said Levesque, in a thick French accent, “but we’re having some fun.”

The Nordiques are the only major professional sports team to have been based in Quebec City, calling it home from 1972 when they started out in the World Hockey Association. In 1995, the Nordiques were granted membership into the NHL, however, financial troubles made it difficult for them to complete in a new age of rising player salaries, and they moved to the United States where they became the Colorado Avalanche.

Many members of the boisterous group said that they believe the Nordiques will return soon, and in the form of the Phoenix Coyotes, who’ve been owned by the NHL since 2009.

“For myself, I would say next year, but for the majority of the people here, even my boyfriend, they’ll say in these coming few months. But for sure I’ll say next year because they’re building a big arena and it will be ready in two years in 2015.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89