Where Will the NHL Expand to Next? Part 5 – Houston

It is inevitable the NHL is going to expand to 32 teams at soon. With the new realignment, the NHL will look to expand to in order to even out the divisions. It is no longer a question of “if” they will expand. It has now become a discussion of “when” and where.”

With this series, Predlines will look at 6 cities that are possible candidates for an NHL expansion team. Factors such as population, arena and previous hockey experience will be examined to decide the best place for the next NHL team. Where will the NHL expand its brand to next?

HOUSTON

Population: 2,160,821

Arena: Toyota Center

Previous Hockey Experience: Houston Aeros (AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild)

Current Hockey Situation: None

Team Name They Should Pick: Houston Wranglers

Why it will work: Houston gets a bad rap for being a small market, but that accusation is unfounded. Houston has two million people within its borders. If the NHL wants to bring hockey to a larger audience, Houston is the largest city available that hasn’t been influenced by big-league hockey yet.

Why it won’t work: Texas isn’t a prime market for hockey. It’s a state that loves football. Just look at Dallas. Despite winning a Stanley Cup, the Stars have dealt with ownership issues and semi-filled buildings. The Houston Aeros, the AHL team the city hosted last year, left for Iowa this year. The city is now hockey-less, and maybe that’s the way Houston wants to stay.

Topics: Houston, Nhl Expansion

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  • Anonymouse

    Houston is the 5th largest media market in the United States. How is that remotely “small market”?
    Also, The original Houston Aeros were arguably the premier team in hockey in the late 1970s. That cannot be ignored.

  • Patrick Helper

    Having not written this post, I think it is fair to point out James did say “Houston gets a bad rap for being a small market, but that accusation is unfounded. ” In hockey terms it would be a non-hockey market. I’m sure the NHL wants to deal with that right now.

  • Jason

    “Previous Hockey Experience: Houston Aeros (AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild)”

    “Houston is the largest city available that hasn’t been influenced by professional hockey yet.”

  • HockeyMoose

    Now Jason, I don’t know what your definition of “professional” is. Just because those guys make good money, playing full time on a development team, that may be called up the NHL at any time, doesn’t make them “Professional” does it.

    • James Summerlin

      Thank you for the observation, but I would consider AHL level play semi-pro because it isn’t the highest league. I understand that is their jobs and they get paid, but my overall point was that Houston doesn’t have the big leagues. I thank you for reading and I hate that you overlooked my overall point to focus on a word you disagree with.

      And my name is James, not Jason.

      • HockeyMoose

        jason was someone who commented on the article. I do not see their comment any longer.

  • HockeyMoose

    “It is inevitable the NHL is going to expand to 32 teams at soon” – Sometimes, it’s best just to #Logoff and try again later

  • Nunya

    I’d consider anyone getting paid to play hockey a professional. That’s their JOB.