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The Nordiques' dwindling alumni association

And then there were three.

Actually, you can argue there are at least four Quebec Nordiques left standing in the current pro hockey ranks, but given the state of Peter Forsberg's feet, it's probably best only to count Owen Nolan, Chris Simon and Martin Rucinsky as the remaining active players who once skated in powder blue at the Colisee.

Nolan, whom Quebec picked with the first pick of the 1990 draft, played this past season in the Swiss elite league. Simon suited up for both Vityas and Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League, and Rucinsky played for two teams in the Czech professional league (we originally thought he'd retired partway through the season, that's what we get for not reading the stats summary all the way to the bottom).

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Their former teammate, Adam Foote, will announce his NHL retirement on Friday.

There's an odd symmetry to the fact that virtually no professional players remain from the team as speculation mounts that NHL hockey will shortly return to Quebec City for the first time since the mid-1990s.

Senator Jacques Demers, the former Habs and Nords coach, was on the radio in Montreal this morning predicting that "NHL hockey will be back in Quebec City within two years."

It may be dismissed as hollow politicking - the Conservatives need all the help they can get in Quebec City - but Demers insists that the process to relocate an NHL team to the city is further along than has been publicly let on.

Add in recent reports out of Quebec City that the municipal administration has ordered up a quick study of how much it would cost to bring the building up to NHL standards - estimates start at roughly $2 million for a bare-bones reno - and you've got the makings for some bona fide speculation.

At minimum, the Colisee would have to replace the boards and glass and also overhaul the refrigeration equipment. Then there's the question of the dressing rooms and offices which are in the state of disrepair you'd expect in a 61-year-old hockey barn.

The city has long said it's not particularly interested in footing the bill to spruce the joint up, but wants to analyze the work that needs to be done and how pricy it would be to undertake it - preparations continue apace for a new $400 million Colisee, but it won't open its doors until 2015 at the earliest.

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Either way, the drumbeat is getting louder in Quebec City - which means it will probably do likewise in places like Atlanta, rumoured as a prime candidate for relocation.

And if Demers is right?

While it would require some Ponce de Leon magic on the part of Nolan and Rucinsky in particular (Simon doesn't turn 40 until next January), it's not completely outside the realm of possibility that one or more of them might be able to get a professional try-out the next time an NHL training camp opens in Quebec City.

Call it booking your ticket on the Full Circle Express.

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About the Author
National Correspondent

Sean Gordon joined the Globe's Quebec bureau in 2008 and covers the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact, as well as Quebec's contingent of Olympic athletes. More

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