Damn. I was wrong. And I hate admitting that I'm wrong, so you've got to really know that I hate writing this.
I read the press release from the AHL yesterday, and I read some news stories on that press release, and I called BS on Austin actually having a franchise for next season. I thought it would probably happen, but I had some doubts. Most of the doubts were based on a poorly written press release and an interview I did with the AHL commissioner last month.
The commissioner was clear that Edmonton wouldn't sell it's franchise to Dallas even though Edmonton refused to field a franchise. The commissioner stated that the AHL would not, and could not expand.
So when I saw the words "limited membership" and a year to purchase a franchise, I saw that as Dallas having a year to purchase a team and put in Austin, but not yet having an actual team to put in Austin. And nothing that I read yesterday contradicted that reading.
That's because the one thing that could contradict that wasn't published until after I posted my piece. And now it makes sense.
Edmonton is not activating it's team next year. They'll continue to play in Springfield. But Austin will have a team. For one year Austin gets to have a team while Tom Hicks, who hasn't been able to convince anybody to sell him their franchise despite his best efforts, gets to keep trying for one more year -- though it's kind of hard to have faith in Hicks making a best effort at this while he's going into default on debts and trying to sell large shares of his ownership in the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars.
So I was wrong. Austin gets to have a hockey team in the AHL for next year. After that, well that's still up for debate. But maybe Edmonton will get off its ass and actually do something about that inactive franchise.