Why Houston Needs An NHL Team

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The City of Houston hasn’t seen Hockey since 2013. Being one of the most populated cities in the US, what is holding it back from gaining a spot in the NHL?


Houston is the 4th largest city in all of the United States, falling behind only New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The city of Houston is the home of countless major sports team–except for a team in the National Hockey League (NHL).

From 1994-2013, we had an American Hockey League (AHL) team in the form of the Houston Aeros. The Aeros would go on to win 3 conference titles–one Calder Cup, one IHL, and one AHL. I remember going to a few Aero games as a kid and having a great time. Going to those games is how I would learn about the game of Hockey.

Courtesy Game Worn Auctions

The Houston Aeros were the minor league hockey team affiliates to the Minnesota Wild. On April 18th, 2013, the Minnesota Wild owners did not come to terms with the lease agreement concerning the Toyota Center, and the team moved to Des Moines, Iowa, for the start of the 2013-14 season.

So, considering the population of Houston, why hasn’t there been a professional hockey team? Truth is, businessman have tried for many years to bring a team to Houston–and failed. Les Alexander, owner of the Houston Rockets (who is now putting the team up the for sale), tried in the mid-90s, but he had a falling out with Houston businessman and entrepreneur Chuck Watson.

Watson, who owned 10% minority share of the Houston Aeros, with Houston native Nick Shepard, who owned 4%, wanted to be the owner of the first professional Hockey team in Houston. However, negotiations fell through with Les Alexander, leaving Houston without an NHL team yet again.

As of 2016, Houston has a population of 2.303 million and is the largest city in the Southern United States. Yet you maybe asking yourself– where would the Hockey team play? The Toyota Center could hold a max capacity of 17,800 for Hockey events, which would be a great crowd to cheer on a Hockey team. If the team does well, merchandise would sell, and more and more games would sell out. Tillman Fertitta, who is the CEO and sole owner of Landry’s Inc. has now thrown his name in the mix of trying to bring an NHL team to Houston.

Let’s hope that things don’t fall through this time.

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About Matthew Paris

I grew up an avid Houston sports fan. After graduating from Texas Tech University in Theater and English Literature I worked as a marketing rep and coach for I9 Sports, coaching baseball, flag football, soccer, and basketball. I’m currently with Austin Sports Academy as a marketing coordinator, baseball and football coach, and coordinator of middle school and high school open play nights. I’ve written three short films for Looknow Productions and have also written articles on film marketing, producing, and directing. I really enjoy writing about sports and being an active contributor to The Sports Column.



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