Aeros Staying in Houston for at Least Five More Seasons

I’m sure some of you saw

the story

last week that the Minnesota Wild have renewed their lease with the Toyota Center, and as such, the Aeros will be remaining in Houston for five more seasons. I for one am happy about that. I’ve become a big hockey fan.

The interesting thing, to me, is with the AHL as a whole. Specifically, just how many teams will there be in the league next year? I ask because the Dallas Stars terminated their arrangement with the AHL’s Iowa Stars. So, at the moment, there is no AHL team playing hockey in Des Moines.

The Dallas Stars are building an arena in the Austin area, and it is there that their AHL-affiliated team will play. There’s just one problem: This arena won’t be ready in time for the 2008-2009 season, so currently the Dallas Stars have nowhere to put their not-ready-for-primetime players.

Several seasons ago, the Stars and the Wild had an agreement in which both teams supplied players to the Aeros, but the Wild have said that this will not be done this upcoming season.

So that leaves, for the moment, 28 AHL teams.

The owners of the arena in Des Moines hoped to have the Wild move the Aeros there. But that’s not happening. But Iowa says it will suit up a team for this season. There is even a name for this team, the Iowa Thunder. But the team isn’t affiliated with anyone. There’s a rumor that the Anaheim Ducks aren’t happy with their arrangement with their affiliate in Portland, Maine, so the Ducks might move their players there. And the Rochester Americans had a dual arrangement with the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers this season, but with the season ended, the arrangement with the Sabres has ended. And with the sale of the Americans, it appears that there will be just a sole affiliation with the Florida Panthers. So it’s possible the Sabres could move their affiliation to Iowa, which would still leave Dallas without an affiliation agreement in the AHL, or Dallas could end up in a dual arrangement with another team.

Now, it’s possible that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But it doesn’t matter, because whatever happens, the Houston Aeros will be back at Toyota Center this coming season. Let’s just hope the people running Toyota Center learn the proper way to handle the ice. -- John Royal

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