The Québec Nordiques were a hockey team. An original World Hockey Association franchise (1972), the Nordiques won the WHA championship in 1977, and 2 of their stars, Marc Tardif and Réal Cloutier, won the last 4 WHA scoring titles (1976-79). In 1977 the Carling O'Keefe Brewery became full owners for approximately $2 million. Under the leadership of President Marcel Aubut, the Nordiques were part of the WHA-NHL merger of 1979. An ownership group, led by Aubut, purchased the team in 1987 after Carling O'Keefe was purchased by Molson's, the owner of the rival Canadiens. They played in the 15 434-seat Colisée as members of the Adams and then Atlantic Divisions and established an intense rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens.
The Nordiques were the first team to sign defected players from Czechoslovakia - the brothers Peter, Anton and Marian Stastny. In 1982 they eliminated the Canadiens and the Boston Bruins en route to the Prince of Wales conference final. In 1986, the Nordiques won their first regular-season division championship. They finished 4th in their division the following year. Several years at the bottom of the league brought the team excellent young players in the draft. In the 1991 draft they selected first overall Eric Lindros, the most sought after junior since Mario Lemieux, but he refused to sign with the team and was eventually traded to Philadelphia for 5 young players, instantly making the team a contender in the Atlantic Division.
The team won the division in the strike-shortened 1994-95 season, but was eliminated from the playoffs by the defending champion, New York Rangers. Playing in the smallest economic market in the NHL proved financially untenable for the owners and the team was sold in May 1995 to COMSAT Video and relocated to Denver (as the Avalanche) for the 1995-96 season. As the Avalanche, the team won the Stanley Cup in its first season away from Québec.