You probably know J.J. Watt as a decorated Houston Texans defensive end and dominant force on the football field. But at some point in the future you may recognize him as one of the people who helped bring professional hockey to Houston.
With Houston Rockets ownerin the near future, Watt was asked this week about the idea of a hockey team moving into the Houston market — and he’s all for it.
Not only does Watt hope that a team eventually finds its way to Houston, he also says he’d ideally like to be part of the franchise’s ownership group.
“Just from a figurehead standpoint, I don’t have that much money,” Watt said. “Tilman, if you want to just give me the job, I’ll take it.”
Even if Watt isn’t able to open up the checkbook to secure a major ownership stake, we’ve seen plenty of athletes successfully buy-in with minor investments. It seems likely Watt’s patronage would be welcome, especially given how recognizable and beloved he is in the Houston market.
Watt, 29, has long been a fan of hockey, having first laced up the skates when he was a toddler in Wisconsin. Not only did he grow up cheering for the Wisconsin Badgers and the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL), but he also played and called the sport his first love. Watt competed on youth teams and travel teams, sometimes traveling as far as Canada and Germany for tournaments.
“I love hockey, I’m a huge hockey fan,” Watt said. “I love to skate. I love playing. There’s nothing like putting the puck in the back of the net. I’m probably too big to be the guy who does that anymore. I guess I could be an enforcer.”
He ultimately gave up hockey for football when he was 13 years old, and things have worked out pretty well for him since then. But Watt says he still loves and plays hockey and he may soon have a chance to use his football career to establish a foothold in the professional hockey world.
Fertitta has reportedly met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman multiple times — maybe as recently as this month— to express interest in bringing a franchise to Houston, and his approach has apparently been aggressive.
Considering the league Arizona Coyotes and moving the team., it seems likely Houston would have to acquire a team via relocation as opposed to expansion. Recently, there have been rumors of Fertitta expressing interest in buying the