It is official now. Two decades of Houston Aeros hockey has come to an end. But their loss is the gain of hockey fans in Des Moines, Iowa. Yesterday, the Minnesota Wild received permission from the AHL's Board of Governors to relocate and rebrand the franchise, starting in 2013-14, the Iowa Wild.
It all came down to the club's inability to secure a new lease at their arena. But Houston is one of the biggest markets in the U.S. so I can't imagine they'll be without pro hockey for too long. For now, though, they are.
The press release made no mention of a timetable for the introduction of new logos and uniforms, but obviously they'll come before the fall. Sometime this summer I'd imagine. Definitely something to keep an eye on. (UPDATE) The Minnesota Wild haven't officially announced the renaming of the Aeros but the Minnesota Star-Tribune is reporting that right now.
Rocket hold off on becoming P.E.I. Islanders
In other rebranding news, the QMJHL's P.E.I. Rocket were supposed to officially unveil their new logos and uniforms on Thursday. They were to be renamed the P.E.I. Islanders for next season. However, the owners suddenly put the team up for sale, according to The Guardian, taking the rebrand off the table for now.
Unless a local group can come up with the money to keep the team on Prince Edward Island, it will be sold to a group planning to relocate to Sorel, Quebec, where they'd be rebranded as the Sorel Eperviers — a team that played there from 1968 to 1981.
Either way, this team will get a new look before the start of the 2013-14 season.
Thanks to Matt M. for the tip on the Rocket story.