Saying they couldn’t come to an acceptable lease agreement with management of the Toyota Center, Minnesota Wild officials announced the transfer of the Houston Aeros (AHL) to Des Moines for the 2013-2014 season.
The new Iowa Wild will play at Wells Fargo Arena, the former home to the Iowa Chops (AHL), as well as D-League and AFL teams. The move was approved today by the AHL Board of Governors. The team is drawing 6,793 fans per game this season: a respectable number, but not high enough, especially when Toyota Center officials were not willing to funnel more revenue to the team. Harris County-Houston Sports Authority officials tried to find a new home for the team, an unsuccessful endeavor.
“Our organization has enjoyed tremendous support from the loyal, passionate hockey fans in Houston since 2001,” Wild Assistant to the General Manager/Aeros General Manager Jim Mill said. “There is a great hockey history in Houston, beginning with the Apollos in 1965, and continuing with the Aeros in the WHA, IHL and AHL. We are honored to have been a part of this hockey tradition.”
“We are grateful to our corporate and community partners, as well as our hard-working staff in Houston,” Mill added.
“We were not able to find agreement on terms of a new arena lease which would allow us to continue to successfully operate our franchise. We thank Toyota Center for the partnership we’ve had since moving there in 2003,” Wild Chief Operating Officer Matt Majka said.
“We have enjoyed a very strong relationship with the Aeros dating back to Toyota Center’s inaugural 2003 season. Both parties worked diligently and in good faith during this process, but unfortunately we were unable to reach an agreement. We wish the Aeros continued success,” Houston Rockets/Clutch City Sports & Entertainment CEO Tad Brown said.
“On behalf of our Board of Governors, I would like to thank the fans of the Houston Aeros for the terrific support they have shown their team and the American Hockey League for the last 12 years,” American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews said.