Rockets Owner Aims to Introduce NHL Team to Houston

Tilman Fertitta, owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, is in discussions with the NHL about bringing a team to Houston, a city that hosts all major male sports leagues except the NHL, and is considering the Toyota Center, which has been renovated for hockey, as a potential arena amidst interest from other cities and the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes relocating due to arena issues.

Tilman Fertitta, the big boss of the Houston Rockets, is chatting with the NHL about a cool idea. He wants to bring a hockey team to Houston, Texas’ largest city, says Bloomberg. It’s interesting because, out of all the major male sports leagues, the NHL hasn’t set foot in Houston yet. Since 2005, the city’s been rocking teams in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and MLS.

Fertitta’s got a vision. He told Bloomberg, “We’re talking to the NHL, but it’s gotta be a win-win… Imagine a concert downtown. It’s buzzing, right? That’s what the Astros, and even soccer, bring to the table.” He’s been eyeing an NHL team since he grabbed the Rockets in 2017. Recently, the chatter’s gotten louder. He’s even heard from Houston’s suburbs, eager to host the team. But for Fertitta? Downtown’s where it’s at.

The Rockets’ home, the Toyota Center, just got a facelift. Now, it’s ready for some hockey action. And guess what? Houston’s on a shortlist of six cities that might get an NHL expansion team. Meanwhile, Salt Lake City’s thrown its hat in the ring, officially asking to start the NHL Expansion process. The request came from the Smith Entertainment Group. They’re no strangers to the game, owning the Utah Jazz and teams in the MLS and NWSL.

The NHL’s giving Salt Lake City the nod, calling it a “promising market.” They’re moving forward, and now Houston’s showing its cards, a month after Salt Lake City made its move.

But here’s the twist. The NHL might be eyeing both cities for another reason. They could be new homes for the Arizona Coyotes if the team can’t sort out a new arena. The NHLPA’s dropped a bombshell, saying Arizona’s missed not one, but two deadlines for a new arena. That’s cranking up the pressure, big time.

Now, with two billionaire ownership groups, both with deep ties to the NBA and other pro leagues, stepping into the NHL ring, things are heating up. Could Houston or Salt Lake City be the next big thing in hockey? Only time will tell.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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