Houston Aeros (1994–2013)
The Houston Aeros were a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. The team played in Houston, Texas, at the Toyota Center. They were the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild. The team is now the Iowa Wild.
|League||American Hockey League|
|Home arena||Toyota Center|
|Colors||Green, Red, Wheat, White|
|Owner(s)||Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (majority), Chuck Watson (minority), Nick Sheppard (minority)|
|Regular season titles||1 IHL (1998–99)|
|Division Championships||1 IHL (1998–99)|
1 AHL (2002–03)
|Conference Championships||3 (1998–99) (2002–03) (2010–11)|
|Turner Cups||1 (1998–99)|
|Calder Cups||1 (2002–03)|
The Houston Aeros were an expansion team in the International Hockey League in 1994. The team's name is an homage to the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association in the 1970s, one of the teams Gordie Howe played for in the WHA. The Aeros were the second IHL team to be named after a WHA franchise, the first being the Phoenix Roadrunners; unlike the Roadrunners, who used the same logo as their WHA predecessor, the IHL Aeros used a new logo, a bomber flying over the team name (essentially their current logo) based on the Douglas B-23 Dragon bomber. The Aeros would defeat the Orlando Solar Bears to win the 1999 Turner Cup, following an impressive 54-win season.
The Aeros were one of six IHL teams to join the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2001 when the IHL folded. The AHL version of the Aeros would go on to win the 2003 Calder Cup; they would reach the 2011 Calder Cup finals as well, but lost to the Binghamton Senators. Longtime AHL affiliates of the Minnesota Wild, they were also affiliated with the ECHL revival of the Orlando Solar Bears for the 2012–13 season.
In 2003, the Aeros replaced their original bomber logo, carried over from their IHL days, to a new logo featuring a forward-facing modern fighter jet below a bold "AEROS", and using the WHA Aeros' colors of light and dark blue. In 2005, as part of their affiliation with the Wild, the Aeros changed their colors to the Wild's forest green and Iron Range red. This new logo was not popular with many of the long-term fans. On April 18, 2006, the team announced that the 2006–07 season would see the Aeros return to their original bomber logo associated with their championship seasons, with only minor color alterations; the blue elements of the original logo were replaced with green.
The principal owner was Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, with Chuck Watson, the former owner, owning a 10% minority share along with Houston native Nick Sheppard, who held a 4% share.
Despite averaging the 10th-best attendance or higher of any AHL team in each of their 12 seasons with the league, the Minnesota Wild's ownership group, Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, announced on April 18, 2013, they were unable to reach a lease agreement with the Toyota Center and announced the Aeros would be relocated to Des Moines, Iowa, beginning with the 2013–14 season. After the move, the team was rebranded as the Iowa Wild. They have played their home games at Wells Fargo Arena since 2013.
- Sylvain Cloutier, 2002–2003
- Kirby Law, 2005–2006
- No Captain 2006–2007
- Erik Reitz, 2007–2008
- Corey Locke, 2008–2009
- Brandon Rogers, 2009–2010
- Jon DiSalvatore, 2010–2012
- Drew Bagnall, 2012–2013
- Single season
- Goals: Patrick O'Sullivan, 47 (2005–06)
- Assists: Brian Wiseman, 88 (1998–99)
- Points: Kirby Law, 110 (2005–06)
- Penalty minutes: Gord Donnelly, 333 (1995–96)
- GAA: Josh Harding, 2.01 (2004–05)
- SV%: Josh Harding, .930 (2004–05)
- Career goals: Mark Freer, 132
- Career assists: Mark Freer, 210
- Career points: Mark Freer, 342
- Career penalty minutes: Erik Reitz, 721
- Career goaltending wins: Frederic Chabot, 126
- Career shutouts: Frederic Chabot, 18
- Career games: Mark Freer, 469