The capital of the province of Quebec, Quebec City will celebrate its 400th birthday in 2008, and what better way to do so than to hold one of the largest hockey tournaments in the world, welcoming the world’s top hockey nations to Le Belle Province. The gold medal game will be played at Le Colisée Pepsi in May, 2008.
Beginning in 1972 with the founding of the World Hockey Association’s Quebec Nordiques, the city was home to professional hockey for 24 seasons. The Nordiques won one Avco Cup as WHA champions (1977), and joined the NHL in 1979/80 following the folding of the WHA.
The Nordiques never won a Stanley Cup, making it as far as the conference final on two occasions (1981//85). Following the 1994/95 season, the Nordiques moved south to Denver, Colorado, becoming the Colorado Avalanche, where the team won a Stanley Cup in its first season.
In 1987, Le Colisée was chosen as host for Rendez-Vous ’87, a two-game showdown between a team of NHL All-Stars, and the Soviet National Team. The teams split the two games, with the NHL All-Stars winning Game 1 4-3, and the Soviets winning Game 2 5-3.
Le Colisée Pepsi’s current tenants are the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, the defending Memorial Cup champions. Since 1999, the Remparts have been one of the highest-drawing teams in the Canadian Hockey League, finishing third in the CHL in average attendance in 2005/06 (8,604 fans per game).
Le Colisée Pepsi has twice hosted the Memorial Cup, the pinnacle of Major Junior hockey in Canada. In 1971 the host Remparts were crowned champions, while the Kitchener Rangers took home the title in 2003.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
The Maritime city is no stranger to major international hockey events, having played host to the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship, where Russia beat the host Canadians in the gold medal game, and the 2004 IIHF World Women’s Championship, where the host Canadians took home their eighth consecutive world championship.
When Halifax was granted a QMJHL franchise for the 1994/95 season, they became the first Atlantic city to have a team in the Quebec league. Since then, they have been a constant fixture amongst the top 10 teams, attendance-wise, in the Canadian Hockey League, finishing fifth (7,720 fans per game) in 2005/06.
Twice the Mooseheads have finished as QMJHL runners-up, losing in the final in both 20. In 2000, they became the first Atlantic city to host the Memorial Cup, finishing in third place as their QMJHL rivals, the Rimouski Oceanic, took home the crown.
Halifax hockey fans got a taste of international hockey in 1987, when the Soviet Union and Finland played a game at the Metro Centre as part of the Canada Cup tournament.