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.