Quebec's finance minister is defending his decision to spend up to $7 million of taxpayer money to bring the Los Angeles Kings NHL team to Quebec City next October for two pre-season games.

Eric Girard says he made the call because he wants to showcase the city's publicly funded NHL-size arena and show the league how much fans want a professional hockey team in the provincial capital.

Girard is also shedding more light on where the money is going, explaining that the province will pay the costs for travel, lodging and accommodations for the Kings — and for the two teams they are playing against: the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.

The money will also compensate the Bruins and the Panthers for money they will forgo for not playing in their home arenas.

Girard says there was a deal on the table from the Kings and while he would have liked to pay less, it was "this or nothing."

The Quebec government has faced hefty criticism over the subsidy announced one week ago while citizens grapple with cost-of-living woes and while public sector unions are on strike over lagging contract talks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2023.