Sports

Give It Up, Hockey's Not Returning to Houston

It's been two years since professional hockey was last played in Houston. The game, played April 28, 2013, was a 3-2 Aeros loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins in game two of the first round of the AHL's Calder Cup playoffs. The Aeros, not able to come to terms with Toyota Center for a new lease, relocated to Des Moines the following season.

Many of the Aeros on that last squad to play in Houston played key roles as the Minnesota Wild, the NHL team that owned the Aeros, won it's first round Stanley Cup playoff series over the St. Louis Blues yesterday. While happy for the players, and the Wild, it undoubtedly brought about some bittersweet feelings for those Aeros fans now deprived of a team. And it also, as always, brings up talk as to whether there will ever be another AHL team in Houston, or whether Houston could support an NHL franchise.

Houston could support another AHL team, and it could definitely support an NHL team. The Wild was happy with Houston as a home for the Aeros. Attendance was good, the fans were passionate, and players and staff liked playing in Houston. The proximity of two major airports allowed the Wild to easily call up players and get them to any location needed. The league liked having a team in Houston for these same reasons. And Toyota Center was built with housing a hockey team in mind, which would make it easy to accommodate an NHL team.

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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal