Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Minor League Silly Season: Aeros Flying North To Des Moines

Photo via AHL in Photos

Another week and another move in the AHL. According to the Star-Tribute (via Hockey Wilderness), the Minnesota Wild will uproot the Houston Aeros and move them to Des Moines, Iowa. The Wild have been unable to come to an agreement with the Toyota Center regarding a new lease for the Aeros, so they are moving to the Hawkeye State's capital.

With the Houston Aeros, it's a name that has been around since the WHA day of Gordie Howe and made a revitalization during the IHL years and moved over to the AHL during the absorption of the IHL. Not only that, but the fans have taken to the Aeros, as they rank 7th in the AHL in attendance this year and have been in the top-third of the attendance chart over the past few seasons. Moving the team is pretty interesting, especially considering they are in a big city and it is easier to get call-ups; like was stated in the HW piece.

As far as Des Moines goes, this is a city that had hockey from 2005 until 2009, first as the Iowa Stars from 2005 until 2008, then as the ever memorable Iowa Chops in the 2008-09 season. In an arena that has over 15,000 capacity for hockey, Iowa's highest average was over 5,100 in the 2005-06 season, then went downhill from there. Of course, this will be Iowa's closest parent affiliation they've had, which could draw road trips from Wild fans to see the next guys to come up to the MSP area.

Though, what does it mean for the Houston area and their loss of a hockey team?? To be honest, if there's an ownership group willing to hammer something out with the Toyota Center, the Central Hockey League may be the prime destination. With the CHL expanding to St. Charles, Missouri and Brampton, Ontario for 2013-14, it only seems right for them to move to a league with heavy ties to the South/Midwest.

Who knows how this will turn out for the Wild. If the move to Des Moines helps rejuvenate that market, then it's a smart move for them in the long-run and allows them to actually be able to keep a very close eye on them. Of course, if this doesn't work-- then many will wonder if the move was all worth it, especially if they have to move out of Des Moines after a few seasons.

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