Quebec Still Longs for Its Lost Hockey Team, a Nationalist Symbol

Quebec Still Longs for Its Lost Hockey Team, a Nationalist Symbol
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Mr. Simard spoke as he watched a game played by Quebec’s junior league team, the Remparts, at the Vidéotron Center — the pricey arena that provincial and city leaders built in 2015 with public funds to show the N.H.L. how committed they were to getting a team.

But if fans of Mr. Simard’s generation tended to share his feelings toward the Nordiques, the team’s significance did not seem to resonate with younger hockey fans at the arena, many born after the team’s departure.

“Me, I’m a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, whereas my father still has the Nordiques in his mind,” said Mathis Drolet, 17, a student who grew up in Quebec.

His friend, Justin Tremblay, 17, said he was aware of how the Nordiques were tied to previous generations’ aspirations — “Quebec wanting to become a nation and all that” — but those hopes felt distant to him.

“They’re things we learned at school,” Mr. Tremblay said.

Located in the league’s smallest market — the Quebec metropolitan area now has about 800,000 people — the Nordiques struggled financially for years and left for Denver in 1995. In the team’s first season in the United States, renamed the Colorado Avalanche, it won the Stanley Cup — deepening a sense of betrayal in Quebec.

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