TSN’s Gord Miller calls Pierre Karl Péladeau’s Alouettes purchase ‘savvy’ if he still hopes to lure NHL

Photo courtesy: TSN

Much has been speculated regarding Pierre Karl Péladeau’s motivations for purchasing the Montreal Alouettes, including his desire to bring an NHL team back to Quebec City.

TSN commentator Gord Miller believes buying the Alouettes is a smart move for Péladeau as a potential stepping stone to one day bringing a second NHL team to his home province.

“I think it’s a savvy play,” Miller recently told TSN 690 in Montreal. “If he brings [the Alouettes] some stability and he shows he can run a pro sports team in a big market and do well with it, I think that helps.”

The Alouettes were taken under the ownership of the CFL last month after the estate of the late Sid Spiegel was no longer willing to fund the team. The league quickly moved into exclusive negotiations with Péladeau despite commissioner Randy Ambrosie indicating that approximately 10 parties were interested in potentially purchasing the club.

General manager Danny Maciocia has spoken glowingly about Montreal’s new owner, crediting him for providing some much-needed stability for a club that has undergone two ownership crises in four years.

“(Last year) there were more topics of discussion off the field than there were on the field,” Maciocia recently told the local media. “Mr. Péladeau is someone who has had a lot of success. A proud Montrealer, a proud Quebecer, someone who has connections in the city and in the province. He takes the Alouettes’ organization to heart.”

Miller called Péladeau the “biggest stumbling block” in the NHL’s potential return to Quebec City, which aligns with a letter TVA Group minority shareholder Luc Proulx wrote to the league in 2018 warning that Péladeau was “unfit to become a governor of the NHL.” Péladeau’s venture into politics during which he served as the leader of the separatist Parti Québécois has also reportedly served as a potential source of concern for the league.

The NHL awarded expansion franchises to Las Vegas and Seattle in 2016 and 2018, respectively, growing the league for the first time since 2000. The Golden Knight and Kraken have quickly achieved local success, sitting at or near the top of the league in attendance.

Though the NHL doesn’t plan to expand in the immediate future, Miller believes that Houston and Atlanta could be in line for expansion teams before Quebec City despite the Vidéotron Centre, which opened in 2015, being an NHL-calibre facility. He indicated that the league doesn’t want to go to Quebec City, which hasn’t had an NHL team since the Nordiques relocated to Colorado following the 1994-95 season.

Atlanta has had two previous NHL teams, both of which relocated to Canada after struggling to establish themselves in the local marketplace. The Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary following an eight-year run from 1972 to 1980, while the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in 2011 after spending 12 years in the Georgia capital.

Bettman recently floated Quebec City as a possible destination for expansion alongside Houston and Atlanta, though he reiterated that the league has no immediate plans to add teams into the fold.

Miller, 57, serves as an NHL and international ice hockey commentator who has worked for TSN since 1990. In 2013, he was awarded the Paul Loicq Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has made “outstanding contributions to the IIHF and international ice hockey.”