The Iowa Wild are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League, that began play from the 2013–14 season. The team plays at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, as the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.
|2018–19 AHL season|
|City||Des Moines, Iowa|
|League||American Hockey League|
|Founded||1994 (In the IHL)|
|Home arena||Wells Fargo Arena|
|Colors||Forest green, Iron Range red, harvest gold, Minnesota wheat, white|
|Owner(s)||Minnesota Sports and Entertainment|
|General manager||Tom Kurvers|
|Head coach||Tim Army|
|Media||Fox Sports North|
|Affiliates||Minnesota Wild (NHL)|
Allen Americans (ECHL)
The team used to be known as the Houston Aeros, calling Houston, Texas, home and most recently playing at the Toyota Center. On April 18, 2013, it was announced that the Aeros would move to Des Moines, beginning with the 2013–14 AHL season and be known as the Iowa Wild.
The Wild is the second AHL team to call Des Moines home. The city was home to the Iowa Stars, which had been the Dallas Stars' AHL affiliate from 2005 until 2008 (in the team's final season (2008–09), they were known as the Iowa Chops and were affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks).
The Houston Aeros were an expansion team in the International Hockey League in 1994. The team's name is a 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 based on the Boeing B-17 or B-25 Mitchell. 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. They served as the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild and were affiliated with the ECHL revival of the Orlando Solar Bears for the 2012–13 season.
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, holding a 4% share.
On April 18, 2013, the Minnesota Wild announced that Minnesota Sports and Entertainment were unable to reach a lease agreement with the Toyota Center, and the Aeros would be relocated to Des Moines, Iowa beginning with the 2013–14 season and play their home games in Wells Fargo Arena. The Iowa Wild inaugural season was opened on October 12 with a 1–0 win over the Oklahoma City Barons. The opening night attendance was 10,200. It was announced on February 22, 2018, the Minnesota Wild would extend their contract through 2023.
The affiliation between the two Wild franchises is the first of two between the two cities as the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association and the Iowa Wolves of the NBA G League also share an affiliation.
Updated May 15, 2019.
- "Wild AHL Affiliate Moving To Iowa". Minnesota Wild. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
- Birch, Tommy; Leistikow, Chad (2013-04-18). "Is Des Moines ready to try pro hockey again?". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2013-04-18.[permanent dead link]
- As former sole owner of the team, Chuck Watson owns the rights to the Aeros name, prompting the name change."Wild statement on AHL affiliate". Houston Aeros. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-04-18.[permanent dead link]
- Wild, Iowa. "FIVE YEARS IN: JUST GETTING STARTED | Iowa Wild". www.iowawild.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- "TheAHL.com –Iowa Wild Roster". Retrieved 2015-01-10.