By Gavin Spittle
NHL Commissioner says Houston wasn’t in consideration for an expansion franchise but is interested in making it happen in the future.
As you watch the Stanley Cup, one of the great storylines is the play of Anton Khudobin. Khudobin spent parts of four seasons playing for the Houston Aeros. The legendary Gordie Howe also skated in Houston for parts of four years. The hockey names that have passed through the nation’s 4th largest city are notable.
With the history of the Houston Aeros, the size of the city and a natural rivalry with Dallas similar to what we will see with Seattle/Vancouver, Houston is often brought up as a future NHL expansion franchise.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman hopped on the K&C Masterpiece to promote the Stanley Cup Final and was asked if Houston was a consideration prior to Seattle being named the 32nd NHL franchise.
“Not really, while we think Houston is and would even be a bigger Hockey town and we know there is a lot of interest there, we didn’t have access to an arena that would be suitable for us to put an expansion team. The combination of needing an owner and somebody who could actually either have an arena or play in an existing arena, that option apparently wasn’t available. At some point, we would love to see interest in Houston in a way that we could make it happen.”
Prior to leaving for Iowa, the Houston Aeros played at the Toyata Center where the Rockets currently call home. Their owner Tilman Fertitta told the Houston Matters radio show last year, “There’s not a month that goes by that we don’t have some type of talks about the NHL,” “And it’s definitely something that one day I look forward to bringing to Houston, Texas.” Fertitta did go on to say that there are challenges with bringing a team to a southern city in the U.S.
So for now a Dallas vs Houston hockey rivalry is on hold but the door is open for hockey to return to H-town in the future.