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

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Is it time to celebrate the life of ... the Houston Aeros (1994-2013)?

We've come to expect a lot of things as Aeros fans over the years.
  • When the team wins its division, it's wins the league (1999, 2003)
  • There will be injuries. Massive amounts of injuries
  • The ice is bad most of the year
  • Gordie Howe will make an appearance or two
  • Once every five years or so, kazoos will make an appearance during the National Anthem
  • When Mike Russo tweets or blogs about something, it's true
So when word leaked out this morning/last night that the Aeros were moving to Des Moines (via Mike Russo), it is now officially time to say your good-byes to the Aeros as the primary affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.
The red guy is the Aeros fan. There are just a few of us
in Houston, but we'll miss our team. 

The Aeros', as we know them today, 19-year run in Houston is very likely over. There are still many questions that will get answered as we move into the summer. Will the name stay? What will happen to the team records, etc? But for now, for the first time in nearly two decades, die-hard hockey fans will have to go elsewhere to get their fix.

Aeros GM Jim Mill told The Houston Press last week that the Wild and Toyota Center were still talking, but Russo reports today that building and Wild could not agree on terms of a new lease.

And here is a story on the Chronicle from today about the latest installment of rumor and innuendo.

The Des Moines Register now has a story about today's info as well. Are the two buildings now being played against each other? Absolutely, is my opinion.

If true, it's a business decision that both organizations feel will be better for their respective bottom lines. It's hard not to be OK with that because we all, on a personal level, deal with money issues every day.

You ALWAYS want what is best for you and your family, and more money is always better than less money. No one can argue that.

This does not mean that Houston won't have hockey ever again, but, if these reports do pan out, it does mean that the Wild are moving the Aeros to Iowa beginning next season. I hold out hope that a new team will come along in the next few years. This is too good a market to be without puck.

But right now, there is no place to play. It's been reported over and over than the Toyota Center is the only place in the Metro area that is financially viable for hockey. And that is true ... the places that are big enough need multi-million dollar investments to get them hockey ready.

I covered more than 500 games for the Houston Chronicle and watched another 300 or so as a fan. The Aeros have been a big part of my life since I was a senior in high school and they have been like therapy for me. It's been so great being a part of their run, and I will miss them considerably.

When the Wild bought the team a few years ago, I figured this day would eventually come. But I always thought there'd be another affiliation ready to go in Houston. And who knows? That could still be the case.

That, like I always say, is a story for a different day. Right now, it is time to celebrate 19 years of great fun, good people and very good hockey. There are still six regular season game on the slate, and the Aeros are right in the middle of a playoff race.

And don't forget about the front office people, who no doubt are having a meeting this morning to talk about all the rumors. I have been there as part of a merger with United and Continental a few years ago. Speculation sucks, and being in the dark is much worse when your livelihood is at stake.

Most of those people work insane hours, and many more do it for less than what they should be paid. Think of them and say a prayer that they'll have something lined up sooner rather than later.

I still think the Aeros have a shot of making some noise this postseason, and in a way, I am glad the cat is out of the bag so people can get a few more chances to say their good-byes. Let's hope this team goes a few rounds and makes some noise in the 2013 Calder Cub Playoffs.


Anonymous said...

I hope Les Alexander is very happy now.
Hell will freeze over before I ever attend ANY event in Toyota Center.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of the Aeros employees lately knowing they might move.
I was in this situation in 1984 and totally blindsided.
My prayers are with them and their families.
There were some great times and memories here.
Hopefully the Phoenix will rise again from the ashes.
Maybe there will be enough time for another facility to offer an alternative to Toyota Center.

Anonymous said...

This is heartbreaking news. The Aeros have belonged to Houston for much longer than the Wild or Toyota Center have existed and I really hope that, in some form, we get "Aeros" back. Sad sad day. Oh well, Les won't be getting my few thousand a year anymore I guess.

B2 said...

Looks like I'll be selling a few Arero's sweaters and other memoribillia on the DesMoines, IA craigslist.

Ace of Hearts said...

I am extremely disappointed that the Aeros are leaving. The hockey games have been very special to me and my mom. Hockey is the only sport we love. Mr. Alexander is a making a very foolish and terrible mistake. We will be boycotting the Toyota Center; we were season ticket holders. (Yes, Les, that is even more money you will lose.)

MK. VIII said...

This gut wrenching news for Houston hockey fans now proves that unless a new arena is built, no hockey in the Houston region for a long time. With Les Alexander holding the keys, and Les being a hockey hater, and Toyota Center being the only facility in Houston with an ice plant, where else do you turn. You don't. There has to be a new arena for hockey to return to Houston, and it will happen. Probably not in Houston, since the city leaders could care less, but maybe in some outlying community. The Woodlands, Clear Lake, Pearland, come to mind of growing areas that would welcome a chance to have a professional team in town, so why not. Houston has now lost 4 hockey teams in the past, so apparently they can live without it. To bad all the hockey fans in the Houston area have to do without, just so Les can have his way.

So long Aeros, it was great while it lasted.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad the boycotting of Toyota Center by the hockey faithfuls won't make a dent in Les Alexander's coffers. If it would, we wouldn't by saying goodbye to the Aeros. Guess it goes both ways though...he wanted too much and the Wild didn't want to pay enough. It's a sad day.

Mark b said...

It wasn't the Wild...Alexander raised the rent some 500% to parity with what he thinks he can make on concerts.

SadAerosFan said...

4/13/13 is the last time I'll step into Toyota Center unless the Aeros give me a loyal season ticket holder free playoff tickets I won't give one dime to the Rockets, Toyota Center or any Wild organization ever again. I can't believe the Aeros are leaving due to a lease. Les won't care or notice that I never set foot in HIS basketball/concert arena again but I hope he is happy with the choices he has made to benefit himself instead of others when he meets his maker. Charma is a bitch and I wish him and the Rockets organization nothing but the worst. Today I lose 2 teams I had rooted for years and have to now follow the Texas Stars .. What's left ..? Texans are the only remaining team in Houston to me. Sorry to lose the Aeros but I hope the players and employees nothing but the best.

Anonymous said...

It's so bad to see the Aeros go. So much history just gone. No more hockey,no more ice, no more chilly :(
I cant imagine living in a Houston with no hockey. I hope the NHL eventually comes here or maybe a new AHL team. It sucks following a team for years and loving the players that go through the team only to see them go because Les Alexander thinks the Toyota Center should be only used for Basketball and concerts. Goodbye Aeros, the memory will never die.

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered how the City of Houston and the Harris County Sports Association were allowed to give team owners complete control over the stadiums that were built with tax payer money. Maybe it is time to get a Grand Jury involved and investigate the likely corruption and conspiracy of these "deals." Who knows maybe one of the team owners could end up in jail. We can only hope.

Mike said...

This is the Aeros playoff background from their site. I don't think that they have officially announced leaving yet, but this is pretty telling.


PHankamer said...

I'm very disappointed with this news. My wife and I just started going to Aeros games at the end of last season and we were instant fans. To have that ripped away from us after only a year is beyond infuriating.

I know there are fans who have so much more invested in loving the team than we do, too. I can't imagine being a loyal fan for so many years and to have that taken away because Les Alexander wants more money. I envy the long-time fans for the time they've had with the team.

Farewell, Aeros. Whether you move off to Des Moines, or by some miracle remain in Houston, I wish you all the best.