Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Some Comments From Jamie Spencer -- VP of Business Operations

With everything that’s been going on with the Aeros the past several weeks, we’ve been trying to take some time to talk to various people associated with the team. Since I’ve built up some relationships with the people on the business side, that’s who I’ve been talking to. They can’t give a lot of information on what’s happening hockey wise, but I thought you might like some information on what they want to do for the game experience once the season starts.

So here’s some information that I got from Jamie Spencer who is the Aeros Vice President of Business Operations.

Let’s start with one of the biggest complaints: the lack of replays on weeknight games. Spencer says the team would like very much to have replays for every game, and that he will be meeting with the people who run Toyota Center in a few weeks to discuss several matters for this season, including replays.

“I remember that from my first game. I looked up and there were no replays,” Spencer said. “But like everything else, we’re trying to run a solid business, and everything cost money so we’re trying to assess where we spend our dollars.”

Another issue that’s being assessed is if, and the number of, games that will be shown on television this season. “We’d love to have every game on TV if we could,” he said. “What we need to do there is do a better of job of sponsorship in order to move the needle and get some TV games and some exposure….that’s something we’re assessing right now, to decide if it’s worth it and how many games that would mean, because exposure is something that we’re really working on.”

Spencer loves the fans in Houston and thinks that the team has a great core for a fan base: “I see some very passionate fans in Houston that remind me of the season ticket holders here in Minnesota,” he said. But he wants to expand this fan base and they are exploring ways to make this happen.

The team wants to focus on improving the fan experience this season, and once the schedule is released, they’re going to get down to figuring out all of the promotions for the season. Returning promotions will probably include Chilipalooza, Guns-and-Hoses, Military Night, and so on. And Bikini Night will definitely be back.

“I know the Bikini Contest has become a fan favorite,” Spencer said. “The thing in Houston is we want to keep an affordable family atmosphere, we also want to have some fun with it, too. The weekends and weeknights are different there, as you’ve seen. We really try to put a good mix of promotions together that appeal to a wide audience.”

The team is also looking at adding Ice Girls to the mix to go with the Aero Dynamics. But he’s not sure if the Ice Girls would come from within the Dynamics, or be a different squad.

Spencer is aware that there are fans here in Houston who are upset about some of the changes that have occurred with the team’s roster and staff. And while he’s not on hockey side of the operation, he did have some comments.

“The big thing [with the Aeros] is that we’re trying to develop players that can move up to the Minnesota team,” he said. “The players that have moved up here, many have contributed. It seems like each year we get guys who become everyday NHL players. Development is a huge part of that.”


“It’s really hard for me to answer this because I don’t make the roster decisions,” he continued. “The only thing I can say is that we are continuing to want to win in Houston.…we made offers to everybody we could. Some of these guys after having successful seasons, they get more money going other places or are more marketable now….It’s not that we didn’t want to sign them, it’s that they’re getting more money to go to other places.”

And Chuck Fletcher and Jim Mill “want to make sure that [Wild coach] Todd Richards is comfortable with anybody we sign. If needed, and someone gets called up, that Todd would be comfortable putting them in the system. And when you change your system, you probably change rosters more than normal.”


“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a fresh look. Some fans might get nervous about that, and other fans get excited -- and I hope that they’re getting excited because there’s been a lot of change. Specifically on the hockey side of our business. And that isn’t a bad thing….so I think this new group is going to bring a different look and a different feel, and it make some time for the fans to understand what that means.”


Forecheck said...

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a fresh look."

Yeah, like when we got the Commie MiG logo....

"I hope that they’re getting excited because there’s been a lot of change....….so I think this new group is going to bring a different look and a different feel, and it make some time for the fans to understand what that means.”

Oh, goody - more "change". Pardon me, but after seeing the results of "change" in Washington, I've had enoough of that word for now!

Ms. Conduct said...

Thanks John.

Please, Aeros, just drop the coin for the replays. It's embarrassing to not have them when every other team does. If I need to go to Wisconsin and wash Craig Leipold's car or dog or whatever to convince him to send a few extra bucks to Houston, I'll do it!

But the important thing is that Bikini Night is back. I would have missed that. #sarcasm

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Great information John!
Thanks for making today a better news day.

Change is a part of every year, but here's to hoping no one screws up the main jerseys again.

The Aeros won, what, 38 games last year?
If the offense totally underperforms, I can see them winning as few as 32 games. If they click, then I can see them winning as many as 45 ... but it is only July 31 so there is no way to know at this point.

Their PK will be better and as of today, so will their goaltending.

They will allow far fewer goals on the year and this team is capable of NEVER blowing a third period lead.

But their power play will come back to the middle of the pack, and for the Aeros to make the playoffs, they are going to have to get really above average years from Nathan Smith and Duncan Milroy.

I can't expect that from Jon DiSalvatore. Look at his career stats: He is going to score 22 goals and add 33 assists with 44 penalty minutes.

He is one guy you can count on for sure.

artandhockey said...

How about that? Boyz will be Boyz:
Bikini Girls, Ice Girls.

Re hockey... I'll wait and see what the NEW CHANGED AEROS (MiniWilds) WILL do, before going 'hog wild' (tongue in cheek intended ;) ;)....

Ms. Conduct said...

Mr. Prediction is back on the case! I love it. Nothing there I could argue with from what I've seen so far.

The way I look at it, my prediction for PHN before last season basically was true. They had the talent but did they have the heart to get it done.

Well, they squeaked into the playoffs (albeit with major injuries in net and some impact from call-ups) and were the underdogs the whole way, but they exceeded expectations through sheer determination.

So, going into this year, without much in the way of real offensive FORCES on the roster (i.e. guys you see every year in the top 25 scorers in the league), but perhaps more stable, more character and team players... I'm really excited to see what they can do under KC. Guys like that seem to thrive under him and I think we all know how much fun it is when that relationship clicks and guys have career seasons.

Chris Jerina said...

"A new look"? Just don't change the logo, its too awesome. (If only the Ads would go back to their 80s/early 90s logo, sigh)

Forecheck, you hit the nail on the head about "change"... starting off by firing one of the most respected employees on the Aeros doesn't sound like good "change".

CatTrick said...

So far my reaction to change is that IT SUCKS! I loved the OLD look and the OLD feel. But if instant replays and TV coverage can be added to the mix, that would be a GOOD thing.

Hey, I'm right there with Ms.C on the Bikini Night thing ;) Just can't wait for the Ice Girls. (#sarcasm)

Ms. Conduct said...

I'm afraid I actually approve of the ice girls.

It was a game later in the season and the Aeros had a bit of a breakaway, maybe 2 on 1 or something like that and the f**king puck got jammed up in the excess snow in front of the benches.

So I declare to John and Andrew: "Okay, that's it. We need ice girls."

You should have seen them jump on that. Ha! "Heather says we can!"

Hey man, I'm ALL about being effective on the ice and if it takes a gaggle of skinny, be-shoveled college girls to make sure that doesn't happen again, I'll live with it.

Anonymous said...

He has quickly picked on how to address an Aeros fan. Him "up there" talks down to us "down here". Just like Minnesota management used to do and how the local "management" does now.

CatTrick said...

Ms. Conduct, you're a trip! :)