New Rockets owner interested in bringing NHL team to Houston

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta listens to question during an introductory news conference, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Tilman Fertitta, who was introduced on Tuesday as the new owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, said he would like to bring an NHL franchise to town.

The Houston Aeros (AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild), moved to Iowa after the 2012-13 season, leaving the Texan city without professional hockey.

Fertitta said he’d look towards getting a hockey team to share the Toyota Center, where the Rockets play.

“I would put an NHL team here tomorrow, but this one has got to work,” said Fertitta, according to CBS Houston. “Would I love to have the other dates in the building, do I want to see Toyota Center filled up 300 nights a year, definitely. So we’ll do whatever we can do, but whatever we do is going to make sense. But yes, Will we be aggressive? Yes. That’s my nature.”

The NHL grew to 31 teams this season, with the Vegas Golden Knights taking the ice as an expansion franchise. Seattle and Quebec City are both options for potential franchises should the NHL wish to expand further – or relocate an existing team.

“If we have an NHL team we need to put 16,000 people in that stadium every night, 17,000, 18,000 that’s what we hold here so if I go out and get an NHL team, I am going to ask the citizens of Houston to make sure they’re going to commit to help me do it, because once again none of this is successful without the fans out there and I know that,” said Fertitta.