Goin’ Back To Houston, Houston, Houston?

Leslie Alexander never got an NHL team in Houston.

 

The National Hockey League has not yet awarded Seattle an expansion franchise but another expansion contender maybe available and the most influential owner in the league is interested. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, whose Delaware North concessions company is aligned with the Seattle expansion bid, is the chairman of the NHL’s executive committee and he likes Houston. Houston is a large market with money. The NHL almost moved the financially ailing Edmonton Oilers to the Texas city in 1998 before local Edmonton investors stepped in and kept the franchise in the city. In 2018, there are two factors that Jacobs and the NHL are considering. Leslie Alexander no longer owns the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets and that’s important because Alexander, who did not get an NHL expansion franchise in 1997 or the Oilers franchise, could keep the NHL out of new Houston arena that opened in 2003 because of the way Alexander’s contract for the building’s use was written. Alexander sold the business along with the arena lease to Tilman Ferttita in 2017 and guess who is interested in bringing an NHL team to Houston? Tilman Ferttita.

Jacobs appeared on Boston radio recently and for the second time this year, sang the praises of Houston. “I look at where we can make the greatest impressions and have the most effectiveness. Clearly the one area that is missing is Houston because that’s such a great city.” Jacobs probably raised some eyebrows in terms of relocating a team to Houston with his NHL assessment. “We don’t have any really poor cities anymore. They’re continuing to flourish.” That is interesting in itself in that Arizona ownership is still looking for a new arena in the Phoenix market. Carolina has new ownership and ownership is looking to rebuild market interest. There are some questions about Florida’s viability. Jacobs likes Houston and that’s a big deal.