Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Aeros Leaving Houston, Star-Tribune Confirms

The Houston Aeros celebrate a goal at the Cedar Park Center earlier this season. (Credit: Texas Stars)
Brought to my attention by The Third Intermission, Michael Russo has reported this morning three brief sentences that spell the end of a nineteen year story in Houston:
"Expect an announcement in the next couple of weeks that the Wild’s long relationship with the Houston Aeros is ending. The Wild has not been able to come to terms on a new lease at the Toyota Center.

The Wild is expected to relocate its American Hockey League affiliate to Des Moines, where it will play at Wells Fargo Arena."
We've been expecting this for a while, but now it's official. Russo is a very reliable source. The Third Intermission is asking the fans to celebrate what they had in their initial memorial post. Celebrate the nineteen years the team had in Houston.

Anytime you hear about one market losing their team, your heart goes out to the fans. In every supposed 'bad market' (and Houston isn't a bad market, by the way), there are hardcore fans. I'm sure that the Aeros have season ticket holders that can count their games attended at over six and seven hundred. They remember the IHL days and Turner Cup battles and all the players who came and went.

Just think about how you'd feel if the Stars relocated. That's what's happening to dedicated fans in Houston right now. So while you might be tempted to engage in a little schadenfreude right now, I don't think that is an appropriate reaction. Houston is the Stars' biggest in-state rival, I would argue, based on frequency of play and level of competition between the two. While you might hate the club when the Stars are playing them, you can't be happy about this news.

Texas has already played their last regular season game in Houston against the Aeros. Houston has one more visit to the Cedar Park Center on April 19th.

14 comments:

  1. Agreed. This is sad news. As a Stars fan I would ask that all of us provide the Aeros with a standing ovation at some point of the last game with us. This will show that we are first hockey fans and then second Stars fans. Not only is this a big blow to the fans, but it hurts families as well for those Aeors that have established a home in the Houston area.

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    1. How about Standing Ovation and a Thank you Houston Chant at the first time out of the Third Period?

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    2. Earlier in the game might be better, takes the score out of the equation.

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  2. Always loved it when the Aeros come to town. Intense, physical game all the time. I am sure we will see them as Des Moines ??? but it might not feel the same. Hopefully San Antonio can become what the Aeros have been as an in state rival.

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  3. Definitely not a good experience for anyone. They've been a great rival. And it's always nice for teams not on the East coast to have opponents close by to reduce travel. One fewer of those, now.

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  4. I'm just sick about this! I've loved having two in-state rivals. It makes the games mean so much more when you see fans from other cities. It's a sad day for all of Texas, not just Houston. Hopefully, a WHL, CHL, or ECHL team (teams?) will move in quickly to fill the void until another AHL or NHL team goes to Houston.

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  5. I was a season ticket holder for the first couple of seasons in Houston, back in 1994-1996 until I moved away, and went to games frequently for years when I'd go back to town to visit family. The Aeros began my love of hockey, back when the IHL hoped that it could someday be a new rival to the NHL - this edition of the Aeros was dogmatically Independent of any affiliation for a few years because the league was trying to cut its ties to the NHL.

    Eventually, I became a Dallas Stars fan as much because they were the only in-state NHL presence as because I lived in Dallas during their Stanley Cup runs of the late 90s - culminating in their victory over Buffalo in 1999. But I would always go to an Aeros game when I went back "home," and when I moved back to Houston for a few years just as they moved to the AHL.

    Back in Austin, I was ecstatic that the AHL brought the Stars to town, and doubly so that they'd of course represent Dallas. But I really loved that they'd be playing host to my first loves, my old Houston Aeros. To this day, sometimes I forget which team I'm rooting for - awkward, to say the least. And I'll never forget that awkward first time, back in 2009, when I accidentally cheered a Houston goal scored at CPC.

    After our playoff run in 2010-11 was ended in the first round, I made the trip down to Houston several times throughout their Calder Cup Finals run. I was going through a tough divorce and, while they weren't my favored Texas Stars, it was nice, warming, comforting to go "home" to my first true hockey love and see those Aeros make a long drive into the Finals before falling to the B-Sens.

    I have tickets to this weekend's final regular season Aeros home game. I went to the first, 19 years ago, and I wouldn't miss the last for the world. If there's any justice in the world, they'll break out the old WWII bomber jerseys for one last lap around the rink - but that's probably asking too much.

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  6. Funny if you ask the players who their biggest rival was they would tell you San Antonio.

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    1. San Antonio is definitely the bigger rival from the physical standpoint. I admit to even disliking them more than Houston, but I go to more games in San Antonio. The Houston games for me have almost always been better hockey games and much more meaningful over 4 years compared to most of the SA games.

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  7. Houston is a big area and I'd bet that in two-three years another AHL franchise moves in. They are consistent top 5 or 10 in attendance and have survived that year after year which is a challenge in the minor leagues, ask OKC who's CHL team spent much of it's time averaging 7000-8000 and now with an AHL team average about 3500. Or even a bigger head scrather the ECHL Ice Gators that for several years averaged 7000-8000 and in a matter of a few years dropped to 2000 or so before simply going out of business.

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    1. They'll need a place to play though, as it seems Toyota Center doesn't want another tenant.

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  8. I cheer for good goals no matter who scores them. Basically I cheer for good hockey and good players, no matter where they're from.

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  9. I am first an Aeros fan, being as I am from Houston, I am a Dallas Stars fan and thus also a Texas Stars fan. But the Aeros are first and foremost my hockey love. I will miss you so much. Also thanks for the support Austin.

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