Iowa becomes ‘Hockeytown’

Iowa welcomed in its seventh hockey team on Monday when the Iowa Wild were officially introduced as “Iowa’s hockey team” and the Minnesota Wild’s new American Hockey League (AHL) minor league affiliate.

However, for a team that just started its operations in Des Moines on Monday, they might be jumping the gun on the “Iowa’s hockey team” moniker and must have not have done their research on the other teams around the area that all have healthy fan bases.

If there is anywhere in Iowa I would want to move to though, it would be in the middle of the seven-mile radius between the Des Moines Buccaneers Arena and the Wells Fargo Arena, preferably with season tickets to both teams.

Iowa has an interesting history involving hockey teams in the state. The current five teams that represent the state of Iowa in the Tier I US Hockey League find their homes in Sioux City, Waterloo, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and our own Dubuque Fighting Saints.

In the past Iowa has had the Dubuque Thunderbirds and currently have the Quad City Jr. Flames in Davenport, a team part of the Tier III Central States Hockey League. Iowa has also had teams from the AHL, the Iowa Stars and Iowa Chops, which is commonly known as the minor league of the National Hockey League (NHL).

When the Iowa Chops left Des Moines, it was only a matter of time before the Wells Fargo Arena and a professional team would be matched together again. Not to mention it geographically makes sense for Minnesota, who had their minor league team in Houston since 2001, to have their top minor league system three and a half hours away.

Apparently Iowa isn’t just known for its corn, hogs, and cattle, we can add hockey to this list.

Other news that came out last week was that the NHL would be adding five other outdoor games besides its annual “Winter Classic” on New Year’s Day each year.

With this news it brings that discussion of whether or not adding these outdoor games is watering down something that worked for the NHL and created such an authentic feeling and positive buzz for the league.

There will be two games hosted at Yankees Stadium, one at Soldier Field in Chicago, one at BC Place in Canada, and one at Dodgers Stadium in LA.

Of course, with five more games added the main benefit for the league is money, roughly 30 million from each outdoor game, which will help the bottom line of the NHL in a year when the salary cap drops.

It is clear the league did not take any risks with where to play the games; all the markets are huge and have loyal fans that will have tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Possibly the biggest reason the league is doing this though is because it has to counter the Sochi Olympics, which will take place next February and put the NHL on hold for a couple weeks.

With all the anticipation and excitement that comes from crowning the best country in hockey, the NHL always has the challenge of keeping that excitement up when all the talent returns back to the league. and We now know the league’s plan is to add these outdoor games before the Olympics and after.

Meanwhile, the NHL’s playoff picture is starting to shape up as April 27, marks the end of the regular season. Coming off a season that saw the No. 8 seed win the Stanley Cup anything could happen this year.

The number one seeded teams this season, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, have been the best throughout the whole season, but the last time both number one seeds made it to the Conference Finals was 2007, and recently number one seeds have been prone to being knocked out early.

If you are not a fan of hockey but want to impress your friends by cheering for a team, choose a team with a red jersey because since 1992 only the Stanley Cup final in 2011 featured two teams that did not wear red.

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