Houston Needs a National Hockey League Team: An Open Letter
Dear Whoever Has Enough Money To Buy Hockey Teams:
Two weeks ago my hockey-loving husband and I headed up to the Big D. to watch the NY Rangers take on the Dallas Stars. As transplants from New York, we were rooting for the Rangers, and (no surprise) they won. Regardless of victor, the American Airlines Arena was completely packed. As we pushed our way out of the crowd, we both mused to each other the same question:
Why in the hell doesn't Houston have a national hockey team?
When the Houston Aeros, Houston's AHL team, announced last year that they would not be returning to H-Town in the 2013-2014 season but rather picking up and moving to Des Moines, Iowa as the Iowa Wild, Houston lost the closest thing it had to a hockey pastime. The rumors as to why the Aeros split town have less to do with Houston's interest in the sport and more to do with cashola. Apparently, the Minnesota Wild, the Aeros' affiliate NHL team, couldn't come up with a lease agreement with the Toyota Center - someone wanted more money and someone wanted to pay less, you guess which was which.
If you had never been to an Aeros game, you missed out. It was a good old time. The Toyota Center wasn't packed to the brim, but there was always a good-sized crowd of people donning their green Aeros jerseys. The loss wasn't for lack of interest. In the 2011-12 season, Aeros' games were the fifth most attended in the league, and in the 2012-2013 they ranked in at number seven. In fact, over the past nine years the Aeros consistently landed in the top 10 most attended AHL teams in the league. Houstonians want their hockey.
Undoubtedly, an NHL team, as opposed to an AHL team, would bring in a better audience. And let's throw our hockey pucks down on the table: Houston needs an NHL team. Why? Where should I start?
How about with the little detail that Houston is the fourth largest city in the country and soon enough we will be No. 3. "But Houston is so hot," you say. So what? So's Dallas. Additionally, there is Florida, which has two hockey teams, the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lighting, and it's not only hotter and smaller in both of those places, but also... it's Florida. California has three hockey teams and one of them is based on a horrible movie starring Emilio Estevez.
How does Texas only have one NHL team, and, furthermore, how is that team in Dallas? Think of the glorious potential of having a Houston/Dallas hockey rivalry. This isn't football where you pretend to wrestle on the field; hockey has full on battle royales with blood and guts on ice skates! I guarantee that our hockey team could kick Dallas' hockey team's ass and we don't even have one.
Dallas friction aside, Houston is a city filled with transplants. I don't need to remind you of the multitude of findings that have come out over the past few years that people cannot stop moving here. Even U-Haul filed a report saying that Houston was the most moved to city in 2012. With all of these different folks, how could there not be a large percentage of hockey fans, who, sadly, don't have a local team to support and give their money too? We have moolah to spend on frivolities; let us spend it on sports. Did you hear me say that whoever is in charge of getting this done? We want to spend money on sports in Houston.
Speaking of sports, Houston has had some rough times this past year. I don't want to sour anybody's pickle but we need a team to root for right about now. No offense to the Rockets and Dynamo; you guys are doing OK, I just don't personally care for either of you.
Here's another thing worth mentioning about the sport; hockey players are pretty hot. Jeff Carter, Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist and let us never forget Sean Avery, gone but never forgotten, all incredibly good looking guys who are manly enough to don a pair of ice skates. Houston's sports teams need some eye-candy up in this piece.
Additionally, right now hockey's East division has two more teams than the West, so it's a perfect time to get in while the getting is good and even the score. Plus, this week was really cold, so it just feels like a hockey kind of town.
And Tyler Myers of the Sabres was born in Houston, so there's that too.
Houston can breed hockey players
I am aware there are a lot of logistics to bringing a hockey team over from another city, but we are a huge city, filled with people from all over country missing their hometown teams, with an arena already in place and a desperate need for some hot sports stars (sorry Case).
Let's do this Houston!
Signed, A hockey fan
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.