The Last Ever (Possibly Maybe Forever) Disappointing Stand of the Houston Aeros

Categories: Hockey, Sports

Aeros WHA Logo.jpg
Are the Aeros about to disappear on Houston again?
This time two years ago, the Houston Aeros were making their final push to secure a Western Division playoff spot. They were on a spurt of a fantastic play that would propel them through the end of the season into the Calder Cup finals, where they came up just short of the AHL championship.

Two years ago, the team was packing the Toyota Center. The players were happy. The coaches were happy. The fans were ecstatic. The future looked bright. But that was two years ago.

Now the Aeros are in the middle of a desultory ten-game home stand that, instead of propelling them into the playoffs, has them poised on the brink of missing out on postseason action. But this ten-game stretch, which ends next Saturday, might not only see the team blowing a playoff spot, it might also mark the end of the franchise's tenure in Houston.

The Aeros' lease with the Toyota Center is up at the end of this season, and though the parties are negotiating and have been negotiating throughout the season, the odds in favor of the team staying in Houston are dropping more rapidly than Astros left fielder Chris Carter dropping easy fly balls.

"We're still talking," Aeros GM Jim Mill said yesterday. "We're still talking. We're still in negotiations, talking to Toyota Center."

The Aeros have seemingly been set on a move since even before the season started, with rumors of negotiations to move the team to Des Moines, Iowa, dominating talk. There's also been mention of a relocation to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where the Minnesota Wild, the owner of the Aeros, are supposedly setting up a junior league franchise. And just last week, the rumors erupted with talk that the Aeros will be moving to Peoria, Illinois, a city that's losing its team not because of attendance but because the team has been sold to the folks who own the Vancouver Canucks and who want to move the team closer to Vancouver.

But with the season fast approaching an end, those people hoping for closure might have to keep on waiting. That would include season ticket holders, who have yet to receive information regarding ticket renewals for next season.

"It depends on negotiations," Mill says about whether a lease renewal will be announced before the end of the season. "It's all depending on how that goes."

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28 comments
brutus1224
brutus1224

MadMac sounds like one of those fans that rides the nuts of the Houston Kotexans who promise a super bowl but cant get there because they choke just like the astros.

brutus1224
brutus1224

this picture appears to be of the arena as fans are making their way in. ive never been to an aeros game where this few people as shown here were in attendance. i have plenty of pics to prove how packed the venue gets for aeros game...based on the fac tthat the houston media doesnt say one word about the team to make people even want to consider going to a game...and cheap prices. even for playoff tickets for their Calder Cup Finals against the Sens I paid about 25 dollars for my seat. cheap compared to other teams in houston area. Les is full of.....yeah that...look at the TC schedule and see how many concerts are scheduled even after the basketball/hockey seasons end. Hardly any. Look at the Woodlands...PLENTY! he cant blame the Aeros for that. I live in LA now. you know how many times I attended a Kings game and then a few hours later was back in Staples for a Lakers game? Plenty and their crew does an awesome job of going from ice to court and vice versa. sometimes they have had 3 events in  a day. Les is making excuses but its no surprise that the Wild wanted to move the team closer to them. So the blame is on both

johnyaztec
johnyaztec

@MadMac is nothing more than some bitter old codger, whoes life stinks so much, he comes on here to rain on everyones parade. Just ignore this silly little man, and his negative comments, and he will go away. Lets ignore him, like everyone else in the REAL WORLD does.

irishtx
irishtx

Over 7,000 last night and a very exciting win.  What the article fails to mention is how CLOSE the teams are for the last 4 spots.  So tight that with last nights win the AEROS are now in 5th place in the West, 2 points ahead of OKC and Rochester and 3 points ahead of the Wolves.  Should be an exciting final week of the season.

I guess any sport for which you are not a fan is a "novelty" sport.  Soccer gets tons of media coverage here due to the large hispanic population.  Sadly, Hockey only gets coverage when things like the team relocating are in the news.  I've never taken anyone to a game who wasn't impressed with the speed, physicality and grace of the skating.  

I would be very sad to see it go.  The REAL story here should be Les Alexander and what is REALLY his motive?  Bad on the City for cutting such a one-sided deal that gives him the ability to promote his agenda, rather than what's of the interest for the sport of Hockey and its fans.

If this is to be the final week for the AEROS in Houston before they head for Peoria (that is where I'd place my $ given no deal is in place in Houston)...come out and see some exciting Hockey.  Most fun for the money in town.

...and for this fan, the ONLY reason to visit the Toyota Center.  If the AEROS are forced to leave because of greedy Les Alexander...the Rocket and Concert boycott is ON.

skarsol
skarsol

No discussion of stadium history at all? The city built TC for Les so that he wouldn't have to rent from the owner of the Aeros at Compaq Center. Now he's raising the rent on the Aeros so he can make more money off the stadium we gave him? Go Rockets I guess. So much for affordable sporting events.

Southernhockeyfan
Southernhockeyfan

I only ever come to TC to watch the Aeros. If they leave, bye bye TC. Until a new hockey team brings us together again.

andrewjackson1961
andrewjackson1961

The picture  and story makes the attendance sound worse than it is.  Tuesday and Thursday night games never draw very well. Especially when they have four home games in six days this week.  The Aeros' average this year is 6,654. That is less than last year (7,324) but that was an exceptional year reflecting a bump from the successful team the year before when in 2010-11 the average was only 6,326. Back in 2009-10 the average was 5,770.  The crowds this week so far have been about half this year's average but they drew 7,621 last Friday night and over 9,000 on March 23. So people are still coming out. This year is the 2nd best in the last 8 which is as far back as they have records on AHL.com. 

mark.brumbaugh
mark.brumbaugh

I would be crushed to see Houston lose the Aeros.  Houston deserves professional hockey, and we let the Summit go and agreed with financing TC with the idea it was a multi purpose arena for basketball and ice hockey.  We do not want to be subordinate to Austin and San Antonio do we?

With our economy there is no reason we should not continue to support one of the best franchises in the AHL, if not get an NHL team.  Heck, if soccer of all things can catapult itself into a followed sporting activing, all we need is some help from the media.

And if TC, with their non-compete clause, gets greedy enough to shut out ice hockey, they will never see another cent of my money for ANYTHING!!!!

sinaya
sinaya

I just know that I'm heartbroken the Aeros are (likely) leaving.   The only time the Toyota Center makes money from me is during hockey season.  And with a season ticket mini-plan, and a handful of individual games, it was on a regular basis.  I've never attended another event there and am unlikely to in the future, so that's at least some revenue they're losing.  I don't know the Aeros attendance numbers lately, but they've historically, had respectable figures compared to the rest of the league. 

MadMac, it's not a novelty sport.  It has a 40 year history in this city. 

radioface
radioface

Not a novelty sport, especially when you compare it to whatever the hell is going on over at Minute Maid.

MadMac
MadMac

There were folks here who could still afford tickets for a novelty sport two years ago.

MadMac
MadMac

Ooo, guess we won't be besties then, huh?

skeelon
skeelon

@skarsol drop some knowlegde on me! i dont know this story.

MadMac
MadMac

There's a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG gap of about 19 years in that history, also based on economics. Further, when the draw equals that of whatever the hizzy is going down at the BBVS/TVA/RESPECT stadium--or when the team isn't sold for a six pack of Labatts--then it won't be a novelty sport.

MadMac
MadMac

Point to you. I haven't been willing to part with that much scratch since they left the Dome--well, excluding marriage but that's a different sport.

johnyaztec
johnyaztec

@MadMac Just cause you cant afford tickets, doesn't mean others cant.  The world doesn't revolve around you pal. I have season tickets, and happen to love the game. MAybe if you stopped trolling, cleaned yourself up, and got a job, your pathetic ass could go to a game. 

irishtx
irishtx

@MadMac Spoken like someone who has never seen an AHL game.  Nearly all of the Minnesota Wild are ex-AEROS and if saw the Zucker break-away goal last night - a thing of beauty.  AEROS played with heart last night and for my money - the most fun/$ ratio in town, and I've had season tickets for ALL of the sports except soccer.

Consider the market.  Pro Hockey does about as well here as Soccer does in Canada.  Actually, AHL hockey draws better here than most other Cities.  Rather impressive for being largely IGNORED by the media.  The fans are loyal and the games are very enjoyable, and at a fraction of the cost of any of the other sports...you should check it out before greedy Les runs the team out of town to promote his own agenda.

jackbag
jackbag

@MadMac you found a pretty expensive man to marry, didn't you?

MadMac
MadMac

In my original 15 word comment, I typed neither "I" nor "me." So, your statement is as weak as your logic. BTW, I have a job. It's not as fun as you are skippy, that's why I hang out here.

MadMac
MadMac

Ooo, guess we won't be besties then, huh?

MadMac
MadMac

I typed an opinion. Kinda the purpose of a comment board.

irishtx
irishtx

@MadMac @irishtx seems it's one of many areas of underachievement for which you can be proud.  Congratulations.

MadMac
MadMac

I admire your passion, @irishtx and I haven't seen a game. Don't know who played for who in 1976, (when the novelty wore off the first time) their kids' names, or their wives' cup sizes. I'm an underachiever like that.

MadMac
MadMac

Hah! Hahahahahahahahaha--you're having day dreams again, aren't you?--hahahahahahaha.

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