(Version 1.3, 30 December 2004. E-mail me with suggestions)

Q: What is the purpose of this site? Do you advocate bringing the Nordiques back to Quebec City? Is the motivation behind web site just wishful thinking on your part?

A: The purpose of this site, first and foremost, is to preserve the history of the Quebec Nordiques. I am an American who has never set foot in Quebec City who just happens to be a Nordiques fan. I’m not interested in using this web site as a soapbox on NHL policies or business practices, nor do I do this as a way to get back at Gary Bettman, the NHL or any real or perceived conspiracy keeping professional hockey out of Canada, small market cities, or both. While I would certainly welcome the return of the NHL to Quebec City (as well as to Winnipeg and Hartford), I know the chances of that are slim to none, so I don’t dwell on it. Life goes on.

I am a Colorado Avalanche fan, although I understand why many former Nords fans – particularly in Quebec – are not. I do not intend in any way to downplay the strong and legitimate feelings of people who lost their teams to another city for whatever reason.

Q: Why is an American interested in the Quebec Nordiques?

A: I’m originally from Idaho, where until recently there was no serious hockey fan base to speak of. I became a fan through Super Nintendo of all things. Quebec was my favorite team to play on NHL ’93, and my fascination for the team – and hockey in general – went from there.

Q: What does “Nordique” mean?

A: Nordique really doesn't have a good English equivalent, but it roughly translates to “northerner.” The igloo-shaped logo is a subtle reference to the Canadian Inuit. When the World Hockey Association formed in 1972 the team was supposed to be in San Francisco, but that never panned out and it was eventually sold to a group in Quebec City. The Nordiques became an original WHA team almost as an afterthought, and were so named because Quebec City is further north than any other original WHA city.

Q: Parlez-vous français?

A: Non.

Q: Do you know so-and-so who played for the Nordiques?

A: I don’t personally know any former Nordiques players. Over the past few years I’ve received comments like this about the Ultimate Nords Roster, including a couple e-mails from people who claim they know people who played for the Nordiques who aren’t listed. That list was done several years ago based on Ralph Slate’s Internet Hockey Database. Basically everyone who recorded statistics for the Quebec Nordiques (i.e. actually took the ice during the regular season) is there. While the possibility exists I may have missed someone, to date I have neither found a legitimate omission nor do I have any reason to believe Ralph Slate’s outstanding work on the Internet Hockey Database is incorrect in any way with respect to the Nordiques. However, if I do find a mistake I will definitely correct it.

Q: Who were the team captains?

A: Quebec occasionally had more than one captain at a time, so dates may overlap:

J.C. Tremblay               1972-73 through 1974-75
Michel Parizeau            1975-76
Marc Tardif                  1975-76 through 1978-79
Robbie Ftorek              1979-80 through 1981-82
Andre Dupont              1981-82 through 1982-83
Mario Marois               1983-84 through 1985-86
Peter Stastny                1985-86 through 1989-90
Steven Finn                  1990-91 through 1991-92
Joe Sakic                     1990-91 through 1991-92
Mike Hough                 1991-92 through 1992-93
Joe Sakic                     1993-94 through 1994-95

Notable Nordiques who were never team captains (at least not in Quebec) include Serge Bernier, Rejean Houle, Michel Goulet, Dale Hunter, Mats Sundin and Owen Nolan.

I don’t have a list of assistant captains. If you have one from a reliable source I’d love to see it.

Q: What are Quebec’s retired numbers?  

3 – J.C. Tremblay
8 – Marc Tardif
16 – Michel Goulet
26 – Peter Stastny

Stastny’s 26 was retired in February 1996 in Quebec City, after the team moved to Colorado.

Q: I heard Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and/or Owen Nolan wore number 88 in protest of the Eric Lindros holdout. Is that true?

A: Although Sakic and Nolan both wore number 88 in their respective rookie years, Lindros had nothing to do with it. Both wore the number before Lindros was drafted, and both immediately switched to their preferred numbers as soon as they became available. No Nordique wore 88 after Lindros was drafted in 1991.

Sundin wore number 13 the entire time he was in Quebec.

Q: Speaking of Eric Lindros, what did the Nordiques get when they finally traded him?

A: After over a year of gridlock, under arbitration on 30 June 1992 Quebec traded the rights to Eric Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers for forwards Peter Forsberg and Mike Ricci, goaltender Ron Hextall, defensemen Steve Duchesne and Kerry Huffman, “future considerations” which eventually became enforcer Chris Simon, two first-round picks and US$15 million. One of the draft picks was used by the Nordiques to select goaltender Jocelyn Thibault, the other was traded twice and ultimately used by the Washington Capitals to select Nolan Baumgartner. As of March 2003 here’s what happened:

Peter Forsberg made his NHL debut in the lockout-shortened 1995 season and immediately became an integral part of the Nordiques offense. He continues to produce in Colorado (at least when he’s not injured). Some have called him the best hockey player of his generation.

Mike Ricci played on the 1996 Stanley Cup team in Colorado. He was traded early in the 1997-98 season to the San Jose Sharks along with a second-round pick for Shean Donovan and a first-round pick (Alex Tanguay). Ricci was still with the Sharks as of March 2003.

Ron Hextall played the 1992-93 season in Quebec, but was traded to the New York Islanders the following summer for goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick (who was promptly taken by the Florida Panthers in the 1993 expansion draft, as Hextall would have been had he not been traded) and a draft pick which became Adam Deadmarsh. Deadmarsh blossomed, played on the 1996 Stanley Cup team in Colorado, and was ultimately traded to the Los Angeles Kings in February 2001 for defenseman Rob Blake. Hextall returned to Philadelphia in 1994 and retired as a Flyer five years later.

Steve Duchesne played a single season in Quebec. He was dealt to the St. Louis Blues in January 1994 for veterans Bob Bassen, Garth Butcher and Ron Sutter, all of whom have since retired. Duchesne himself retired in 2002 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings.

Kerry Huffman, the other defenseman in the deal, spent a season and a half in Quebec before being claimed off waivers in January 1994 by the Ottawa Senators. Huffman remained with the Senators for a couple years, returned very briefly to Philadelphia, then descended to the minor leagues where he effectively retired after the 1998-99 season.

Chris Simon split his time between Quebec and AHL Halifax before becoming a regular NHL player in 1993-94. After winning the Cup in Colorado in 1996, he was traded to the Washington Capitals along with Curtis Leschyshyn in exchange for Keith Jones and a 1998 first-round draft pick (right wing Scott Parker, now an Avalanche regular). Simon finished the 2002-03 season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jocelyn Thibault backed up Stephane Fiset beginning in 1993-94 and moved with the team to Colorado. He was traded to Montreal in December 1995 along with Andrei Kovalenko and Martin Rucinsky for Mike Keane and another goaltender you may have heard of, Patrick Roy. By the 2002-03 season Thibault was the starting goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Q: Is it true the Nordiques would have changed their uniform design had they not moved in 1995?

A: Yes. A uniform redesign was set to go for 1995-96 had the Nordiques stayed in Quebec. The never-used wolf logo is in the “What If?” section of the web site. The color scheme would have been purple, teal, black and white.

Q: Will there be a Quebec Nordiques in the new World Hockey Association?

A: Probably not. The new WHA was supposed to have a team in Quebec City called the "Nordiks," but in August 2004 the league revoked the franchise, citing inadequate financing (the WHA itself was sold several weeks later). In the event the WHA eventually manages to ice a team in Quebec City - assuming it ever gets off the ground at all - it's quite likely the team will be named something else since the NHL still owns the Nordiques name and logo rights.

Q: How come Patrick Roy isn’t on the Quebec team that won the Stanley Cup in your “What If?” story?

A: The “What If?” story is a work of fiction, of course, but I tried to make it as realistic as possible based on the assumption Quebec didn’t move in 1995. There’s no doubt in my mind Roy would have had a falling out with Montreal regardless of what happened with the Nordiques, but I’m equally sure the Canadiens would have never traded him to their bitter archrivals no matter how bad the situation was. It would have been like the New York Yankees trading Mickey Mantle to the Boston Red Sox, or the Boston Celtics trading Larry Bird to the Los Angeles Lakers, simply unthinkable. The move to Colorado (and to a different conference) effectively killed any rivalry with Montreal, thereby making the deal possible.

Q: Do you really think Quebec could have won the Stanley Cup in 1995-96 had they stayed?

A: Sure. The move didn’t change the fact the Nordiques in May 1995 were one or two good players away from being a championship team.

Q: The Quebec provincial government subsidizing the Nordiques to keep them? Come on …

A: It was considered. Of course, in real life nothing came of it.

Q: Know any good books on the Quebec Nordiques?

A: In English? No. However, Benoit Clairoux’s Les Nordiques de Québec: Toute l’histoire de 1972 à 1995 (ISBN 2-7619-1581-X) is a definitive French-language account. It’s filled with great pictures and stats, so it’s useful even if you don’t speak French. Click here for more.

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