Quebec’s finance minister is defending his decision to spend up to $7 million of taxpayer money to bring the Los Angeles Kings NHL team to Quebec City next October for two pre-season games.
Eric Girard said he made the call because he wanted to showcase the city’s publicly funded NHL-size arena and show the league how much fans want a professional hockey team in the provincial capital.
Girard also shed more light on where the money will go, explaining that the province will cover expenses for travel, lodging and accommodations for the Kings — and for the two teams they play: the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.
The Bruins and the Panthers will also be reimbursed for the money they will forgo for not playing in their home arenas.
Girard said there is a deal on the table from the Kings and while he wants to pay less, it’s “it or nothing.”
The Quebec government has faced fierce criticism over the subsidy announced last week as citizens grapple with cost-of-living problems and as public sector unions strike over delayed contract talks.
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