NHL in Houston: Little movement but lots of chatter among H-Town's hockey fans

The last time professional hockey was played in Houston was in 2013 when the Aeros skated inside Toyota Center.

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Thursday, June 16, 2022
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta on bringing NHL to Houston
PREVIOUS VIDEO: Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta spoke to ABC13 shortly after acquiring the NBA team about the prospect of landing an NHL team in Houston.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Another NHL season is about to conclude without a solution to satisfy hockey-hungry Houstonians who want the league in the city.

Despite overtures and flirtations, especially with Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta once expressing adding a major league hockey franchise to the Toyota Center, anything resembling an outright NHL-to-Houston move is purely rumor and speculation in 2022.

Still, that hasn't stopped a small but mighty hockey fan base from dreaming up possibilities, specifically within the realm of relocating an existing franchise to the NHL's largest untapped U.S. market.

The video above is from a 2017 report on Tilman Fertitta exploring the potential of landing the NHL in Houston.

The "NHL To Houston" Twitter feed has served as not only a sounding board for H-Town's hockey fanatics but also an aggregator specifically for franchises that may be on their last rope with their current cities.

For example, recent tweets have focused on the movements regarding the Coyotes, who famously were on the outs with the city of Glendale, Arizona, and their former home, Gila River Arena. The Coyotes are temporarily sheltered at Arizona State University's Multi-Purpose Arena, which holds under one-third of the hockey capacity of Gila River's 17,000 seats.

What could hold up the Coyotes from heading to H-Town, though, is the team's talks with nearby Tempe's plan for an entertainment district and hockey venue. It remains to be seen if this is going to stick.

In any case, the Coyotes have long been one of the franchises vulnerable to relocation.

What about expansion? Chances are slim that the league awards Houston its 33rd team, which would be one more than the billion-dollar sports giant, the NFL.

SEE ALSO: H-TOWN HOCKEY: JJ Watt wants NHL team in Houston

J.J. Watt wants NHL team in Houston

The NHL welcomed two new franchises within the last five seasons - Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken.

So, relocation would be the more sensible solution.

But, again, Houston is no closer to Zambonis, shootouts, and goal horns than it was nine years ago when the minor league Aeros played their last game in the city.

For now, Houston's hockey fans will have to settle on watching a rare exhibition game up close, like the upcoming H-Town Ice Hockey Showdown at Ice Skate Memorial City on July 15-16, or tuning into ABC13 for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, which pits the Colorado Avalanche and the two-time defending champs, the Tampa Bay Lightning.


  • Game 1: Tampa Bay at Colorado, 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 15
  • Game 2: Tampa Bay at Colorado, 7 p.m., Saturday, June 18
  • Game 3: Colorado at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m., Monday, June 20
  • Game 4: Colorado at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 22
  • Game 5*: Tampa Bay at Colorado, 7 p.m., Friday, June 24
  • Game 6*: Colorado at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m., Sunday, June 26
  • Game 7*: Tampa Bay at Colorado, 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 28

All games are on ABC13 and ESPN+. All times are Central Time.