04 March 2013

Texas: Not Too Hot for Hockey


Texas isn't a state that you would ordinarily associate with cold weather sports like hockey. The warm weather and state-wide obsession with more traditional sports like football and basketball make this seem like an unlikely candidate. However, despite the southern locale, Texas has proven that it is a hotbed for hockey fans.

The Heat of Texas


Thanks to the southern location of Texas, this state enjoys warm weather year-round. The average highs are between 72 and 79 degrees for north central Texas and between 77 and 87 degrees for south central Texas. Lows hover in the 50s and 60s for most of the state. These temperatures make sure that outdoor hockey is out of the question. However, this didn't stop the Dallas Stars from coming to the state, and it hasn't slowed the fans closely following the growth of this sport.


Popular Texas Activities

Popular Texas activities generally focus on outdoor sports that take advantage of the warm, mild weather. You can enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, camping, and horseback riding year-round in this state. Gulf coast activities include boating, swimming, sailing, water skiing, and fishing. In an area where kayaking, disc golf, and zip lines top the list of things to do on your weekends off, hockey doesn't seem like it would be a natural contender. In fact, it's only in recent years that the sport has come on the scene.


How Hockey Came to Texas


When the Dallas Stars came to Texas from Minnesota in 1993, they brought the state more than just a team. They brought a whole sport. The Stars purchased and refurbished what was the only arena in town at the time. Though it was solid on the outside, it couldn't even make ice. Shortly after, they built a second arena. In coming years, the team would help fund the construction several ice rinks known as Dr Pepper StarCenters. Today there are six StarCenters and many other popular ice rinks in Texas. Dallas Stars tickets are now a popular commodity for the well-loved team.

Hockey's Growing Popularity

The Dallas Stars now have lots of company in the Texas hockey scene. The state now has:
  • 3 teams in the American Hockey League (The Houston Aeros, San Antonio Rampage, and Texas Stars)
  • 7 teams in the Central Hockey League (The Allen Americans, Amarillo Gorillas, Corpus Christi IceRays, Laredo Bucks, Odessa Jackalopes, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, and Texas Brahmas)
  • The Texas Tornado in the North American Hockey League
  • The Dallas Stars in the National Hockey League
Since 1990, the sport has seen a growth of 1,156.8% percent in Texas. This is one spot where the heat just can't slow this engaging sport. Though hockey has also shown growth nationally, it's undeniable that Texas and other southern states like Georgia are leading the pack, weather aside.

The Texas heat may hamper outdoor opportunities for hockey, but there's no question that this is a popular area for the game. All you need is a well maintained indoor ice rink here and you're ready to go.



Sources:
http://www.texasoutside.com/bikeMain.html
http://www.wfaa.com/sports/hockey/stars/Stars-get-credit-for-making-North-Texas-a-hockey-hotbed-84932677.html
http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2011/05/23/raw-numbers-hockeys-growth-in-the-united-states-1990-2009/
http://www.statesman.com/news/sports/pro-sports/hockey-pioneer-carries-sports-growing-popularity-1/nRmpr/
http://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Texas/average-annual-temperatures.php
http://www.activities.wildernet.com/pages/area.cfm?areaID=TXTRGC&CU_ID=1

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