Des Moines hopes the third time is a charm for the American Hockey League. The Minnesota Wild formally announced they are moving their AHL franchise from Houston to Des Moines.
The Iowa Wild will begin play in October. “The Minnesota Wild is thrilled, absolutely thrilled to join a great sports market in Des Moines. Our ownership group is committed to a long term success of hockey in Des Moines, owner Craig Leipold said today.
“We have a large following throughout the upper midwest and we will be entrenched in this community.”
Leipold says the Wild want to become involved in all levels of hockey. “Make no mistake, we want to win. And winning is good for all of us. It’s good for ticket sales, it’s good for fan support, it good to keep the owner happy, it’s good for the players, so winning is what we try do,” Leipold says.
“But it’s not the only thing we do. We will strive and work diligently to be a positive influence in this community.”
Wells Fargo Arena was home to the Iowa Stars and Iowa Chops of the AHL from 2005 to 2009. AHL president David Andrews says it will be different and better with onwership and management which is only 3 hours away. Iowa Events Center general manager Chris Connolly says the proximity to the Twin Cities will help this franchise be successful.
Connolly says the Wild has been very successful and they expect that to carry over into Des Moines. Connolly says the city was not desperate for a hockey team but the Wild were a perfect fit.
Connolly says there has been a lot of reaction from hockey fans since the AHL approved the move last week. “It’s been unreal, ever since the vote last Thursday was announced, we’ve been flooded with phone calls,” Connolly says.