Dallas Considering OKC: ECHL Rumors Continue

The season isn’t even cold yet for the Oklahoma City Barons, and the rumors of hockey returning to the city are beginning to heat up. With the AHL lumbering its way out of Oklahoma’s capital city, it seems logical for fans to turn their ears towards the earth for signs of future hockey life. The rumblings exist, and you might like what you hear.

Through multiple channels, all within Oklahoma City, it appears that the Dallas Stars are considering a move of their ECHL affiliate to the Sooner state. Currently Dallas has an agreement, which has been renewed nine straight seasons, with the highly successful Idaho Steelheads. History tells us that this agreement typically is renewed in one or two year terms, but comes towards the tail end of summer.

With the Texas Stars in Austin, the regional shift to I-35 for ECHL makes a lot of sense. As evidenced by a sizable crowd for the Stars vs. Oilers NHL Showcase not long ago, there are a bulk of Dallas Stars fans living three hours up the interstate (of which I’m one). Nearly all NHL Stars games are broadcast locally via Fox Sports Southwest, and thus the fan base has had these games delivered to their living rooms for years. The “regional” move is something the Stars organization is wanting to uphold as the AHL footprint boldly moves West. More on that potential grand statement in the coming weeks.

The hole in next year’s ECHL Central Division (Allen, Wichita, Missouri, Tulsa) nearly guarantees that another team will be added by 16-17. All signs point to that destination being Oklahoma City where they historically have had intense rivalries with Wichita and Tulsa during the CHL days.

Tend The Farm has a strict no rumors policy, but we have made an exception here as multiple people “behind the scenes” have inferred that the city is open to new suitors.

We wait for official word – likely not soon – from on high about the potential for a new hockey endeavor to land firmly in Oklahoma City. Until then, summer beckons us.

22 comments on “Dallas Considering OKC: ECHL Rumors Continue”

    1. Rex, as a member of the OKC fan base, and that goes back to the 1965-66 season, you are absolutely correct with that statement, very well stated……

  1. Dallas buying a franchise would make sense for the situation. SMG has certainly managed hockey teams, and last I heard they managed one of the ECHL teams on the East Coast. Dallas has to be aware (and if not they SHOULD be aware) that not many OKC fans would support a Funk/Prodigal owned and managed team any longer. That ship has long since sailed out of the gulf of Mexico!

  2. The natural choice for an ECHL team for the Stars would have to be the Allen Americans but I don’t think that will happen. My understanding is there is a debt owed and unpaid by the Americans and until that debt is paid there will be no co-operation. So all that said I think OKC is a logical choice and very possible for 2016-17.

    1. A couple of things to think about. Allen seems like a good choice, but moving into Oklahoma expands the Stars footprint that already exists in the state. I’m a Stars fan who has never lived in Texas, and I’m a fan because of proximity.

  3. Pingback: ECHL to OKC?
  4. It’s more bad news for me. I just don’t think I can support that organization.

  5. New here so please forgive if redundant. Would AAA hockey in OKC have worked if they would have kept the ‘Blazers’ moniker? Bakersfield was smart enough to do it and I think it would’ve made a difference. Bring on the ECHL asap por favor

    1. I think so. Barons ownership was so anti-Blazers that they instantly hurt an already valuable fan base. Keeping the name might have helped, but then again the Blazers fans at the time had distanced themselves from anything new because CHL Blazers was their “thing”. Some made the jump, like me, but many didn’t. Still would have hoped the two sides could have worked together.

    2. Duke, glad to read that I’m not the only fan who questioned the name change, and your comment that “Bakersfield was smart enough to do it” echoed my sentiments exactly. A brief story regarding this when Prodigal set up shop and announced the name change for our hockey team; I inquired as to why they chose to change the name, from Blazers to Barons, the Blazers name had a long and nationally recognized brand in the hockey community, and I’m referring to the original Blazers, the team that moved from Minneapolis after the 1964-65 season, the team that was referenced in a 1969 Sports Illustrated article regarding the NHL playing the Russians, Toe Blake, legendary coach of the Montreal Canadians said, “we’ll play them, but first they have to beat the Oklahoma City Blazers, they do that, we’ll give em a shot”, the team that was, and I think, it was the 1970-71 season, the first professional team required to wear helmets, Prodigals response to the name change was, “we changed leagues, that’s why”, when I responded, accurately, that “the Oklahoma Sooners changed leagues, they didn’t change their name, and, the Edmonton Oilers changed leagues, they didn’t change their name”, I was met with a blank stare and silence, hell, even Horn Chen, Ray Miron, Bill Levins and those responsible for reviving the Central Hockey League in the early 90’s recognized the value in retaining not only the Blazers name, but also the Oilers name for the Tulsa franchise, “if it ain”t broke, don’t fix it”……..

  6. Good, valid points. Aside from the name change, the whole atmosphere of the game environment was lack luster. The music, the promotions during puck stoppage and pregame intro was all subpar it seemed to me. Some of that may have been in accordance with AHL rules, idk. The hockey itself was a nice upgrade but the rest of the production left a lot to be desired. I will follow the players in Bakersfield and hope OKC lands hockey sooner rather than later. Beside the point… I think the Dodgers missed the boat not running with the 89ers with the baseball. Maybe let the fans decide what name and merch they wanna support the most. Just a thought

  7. Sure, NOW they think about it … wouldn’t it have made a ton of sense for the Oil to have moved their ECHL franchise to OKC (instead of Norfolk), then work some sort of swap with Dallas/Idaho?

    1. Maybe. I think the Oilers were in a pinch, and OKC was without a quality local owner. I also assume that Edmonton has become gun shy on selling their product in OKC.

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