Houston Sports: Why the Aeros name needs to be brought back

SAN ANTONIO - OCTOBER 15: Erik Reitz /

Over several decades of hockey in Houston Sports, there has been one common name. If or when Houston gets an NHL team it seems logical that it should be named the Aeros. Here are a few reasons why Houston Aeros works.

It was an interesting twist for Houston Sports.  The Houston Aeros played their last game as members of the American Hockey League (AHL) back April 14, 2013. They didn’t move away because of lack of fan support. They moved away because according to the April 18, 2013 issue of the Houston Chronicle “The Aeros were left with few options when negotiations for a new lease with the Toyota Center failed to come together.” 

I won’t get into the particulars of that. That isn’t what this piece is about.  Enough ink has been used telling the story of the last version of Houston’s hockey team.

What I intend to do here is explain why if the new Rockets ownership is successful in bringing an NHL team to Houston Sports and there is only one name for it.

Enough with the suspense? What do they name it?

If or when Houston Sports gets a hockey team, the owners should name it the Aeros. Whether its expansion or a team relocation there is enough history in the name Houston Aeros that it could work as the new name.

Who wouldn’t want to see the Houston Aeros in the 1970s Gordie Howe throwbacks playing the Dallas Stars? Or even the 90s-00s look with the shark-toothed bomber on the hockey puck? It would be something to see that flying around on the Toyota Center ice again.

Other Houston hockey teams over the years have been known as the Apollos and the Huskies but those names don’t have the same tradition as the Aeros.

The first version of the Aeros won the World Hockey Association twice in the 1970s when Gordie Howe patrolled the ice at the Summit. The second version played in the IHL and AHL from 1994-2013 and won a championship in each of those leagues before being whisked away to Iowa.

So how do we get the Aeros back?

With the NHL currently sitting at 31 teams it seems likely that there will be another round of expansion at some point. There are three divisions with eight teams and only one division with seven teams. That division happens to be the Central, which includes the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and a team called the Stars that plays in Dallas.

The Central needs one more team to get to eight and Houston would fit in that geographic footprint. There are rivalries ready to form between Houston and the other teams in that division. Houston has had baseball rivalries with St. Louis and Chicago, a football rivalry with Nashville and

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a family feud with Dallas.

It makes the most sense for the Houston Aeros to find a home in the central as a brand new team. If a team like the Arizona Coyotes or Carolina Hurricanes moved to Houston the divisions would have to be redrawn.

What’s wrong with other names? Aeros had their day right?

There is nothing wrong with Houston’s hockey team being named the Apollos or the Huskies. Both of those names would pay homage to other bayou city hockey teams. If a team moves to Houston I think it best that the name be changed. After all the Carolina Hurricanes used to be the Hartford Whalers and the Arizona Coyotes used to be the Winnipeg Jets.

Also do we really want our hockey team to be called the Houston Hurricanes or the Houston Coyotes? I know I don’t.

Next: Why the Bayou City deserves an NHL team

There is another benefit to naming the potential new hockey team the Aeros: Those banners commemorating the WHA, IHL, and AHL championships can still hang from the rafters at the Toyota Center.

So Mr. Fertitta, if you are able to get a hockey team to the Houston Sports collection of franchises, name it the Aeros.