06/25/2015 11:56 EDT | Updated 06/25/2016 05:59 EDT

Stephen Harper continues push for NHL expansion in Quebec City

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who attended Stanley Cup playoff games this spring, reiterated his support Thursday for an expansion team in Quebec City.

A day earlier, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in Las Vegas, where the league could expand, that the league is opening a formal expansion review process to consider adding clubs to the 30-team NHL.

Las Vegas, Seattle and Quebec City are the markets that have expressed the most serious interest. 

"I'm not going to get into expressing opinions about individual bids or owner, these are private business decisions," Harper said, "but I will repeat what I just said which is, if you're looking at markets, I would say to the NHL, to anybody, there is no better place for an expansion in the National Hockey League than this city, Quebec, which is a great hockey centre."

The 18,259-seat Videotron Centre in Quebec City is scheduled to open later this year in a relatively small market that lost the Nordiques to Denver in 1995.

In French, Harper added the federal government has no official role in a Quebec City bid, but that he is big fan.

Quebecor confirmed its interest in submitting a bid via a news release 90 minutes after Bettman's news conference on Wednesday.

Any groups interested in making a formal application must apply between July 6 and Aug. 10. Bettman indicated the expansion fee would be at least $500 million US, to be distributed among the existing franchises.

The NHL doesn't anticipate expansion prior to the 2017-18 season and has yet to indicate how many teams it would add.

Quebecor is already involved in the league through its French-league television-rights deal with TVA.