Lockout, schmockout. The zillion-dollar National Hockey League stars are sitting on the bench, and at least one -- concussion-prone Philadelphia and Team USA whiner Jeremy Roenick -- is having his head examined. But while they're in limbo, the strapping, developing prospects in the minor leagues will play a full season of American League Hockey. Our plucky Houston Aeros, who -- unlike the Astros, Texans and Rockets -- have actually won two league championships in the past five years, will open the season against the Ducks. The NHL lockout is good news for Aeros fans. Houston's roster includes several Dallas Stars players on loan this year, including defenseman Junior Lessard, the Quebec-born, top-ranked U.S. college player last season. And several players who would be the Aeros' parent team in Minnesota are in H-town. Hockey junkies and groupies should check out Minnesota Wild forward Mikko Koivu of Finland, younger brother of NHL star Saku Koivu.
But the biggest change is the uniforms: The Aeros have adopted the funky red-and-green forest-ranger look of their NHL parent team the Minnesota Wild, replacing the nostalgic home uniforms patterned after Gordie Howe's old-school Aeros. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 16. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. For information, call 713-974-7825 or visit www.aeros.com. $11 to $55. -- Greg Barr
Just Plane Fun
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That nonstop parade of Southwest 737s flying over Houston? Booooooring. We want some F100 engines, not any of this JT8D crap! Uhh, and the less nerdy among us want explosions and barrel rolls and sonic booms. Whether you're a self-proclaimed "plane spotter" or you just want to see some fancy tricks, the Wings Over Houston Airshow should leave you dazzled. The USAF "Thunderbirds" Jet Demonstration Team is headlining the show, which also features an F-18 Hornet demonstration, a B-2 bomber fly-by and a re-creation of the air attack on Pearl Harbor, complete with vintage aircraft and pyrotechnics. We're not sure if the show's politically correct, but we do know this: It'll be the bomb. 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17. Ellington Field, 422 Ellington Field, Brantley Avenue off Highway 3 in Clear Lake. For information, call 713-266-4492 or visit www.wingsoverhouston.com. $4 to $20. -- Julia Ramey