The Dallas Stars’ 7-game win streak is over after more than 2 weeks. The Vegas Golden Knights ended it down 2 goals in the 3rd period. The Arizona Coyotes were the last team the Stars beat during the streak. Speaking of the Coyotes, they likely will not remain in Arizona for much longer. Houston, Texas is the largest city in the United States without an NHL team. The Coyotes are on pace to lose their home arena and Houston looks like the prime destination. With already pre-established rivalries, get ready for a new medium.
Leaving the Glendale Money Pit
The Coyotes have almost a 0% chance of staying at their current arena after this season. Glendale city council wanted them gone almost 10 years ago. Now they have until December 20 to pay delinquent bills and unpaid taxes. The Coyotes have until 5 pm on that day to pay them or get locked out of their arena. On top of that, the city is also evicting them at the end of this season. The Coyotes have no home arena at the end of this season regardless. It is unclear how much the Coyotes lost over the last 10 years but that number is north of $100 million. Enough lifelines to this struggling team.
Dallas Hates Houston, Houston Hates Dallas
The primary destination for relocation is Houston, Texas. Rivalries between Dallas and Houston are well established. The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans are not in the same conference so they only play once every 4 years. The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are already rivals in their division. The most heated inter-state rivalry is the Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers. Playing each other 19 times per season does that. Astros and Rangers fans despise each other. The hotly-contested Lone Star Series will transfer over to the NHL.
Bringing an NHL team to Houston will add another chapter to the sports atmosphere between these two Texas cities. The American Airlines Center is a 3-hour 31-minute drive from the Toyota Center. The current nearest team to the Stars is the St. Louis Blues at 9 hours away. Some Stars fans will make the trip down to Houston should they get an NHL team.
Houston will not get an expansion team. The NHL will have no more or less than 32 teams for decades. The Coyotes are the only team likely on the move. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta already expressed interest in owning a hockey team. The Toyota Center is well suited for an NHL team. Greater Houston has about the same amount of people as Greater Dallas, ~7 million. An NHL team fits nicely in downtown Houston.
NHL officials tried to keep the Coyotes in Arizona for years. It’s time for them to go elsewhere. The Stars will benefit with a team in Houston. Dallas vs. Houston will get more television airtime on major networks. The Stars are ready for an in-state hockey rivalry and Texas is big enough for that to happen. The Coyotes are perfect for relocation as they already are in the Central Division. Houston is ready for an NHL team.
This is all tentative on the Coyotes moving. There is a chance that they don’t.
Photo Credit: Dallas Stars Twitter