If the players and owners are unable to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by Sept. 15, we'll have the second NHL lockout on our hand of the last seven years. Unfortunately, players are already preparing for a lockout.
If this unfortunate situation does come to fruition, the AHL could see an uptick in attendance and a rise in demand, according to the Sports Network's Daniel Fung.
Already, though, fans are starting to look at alternatives to getting their hockey fix in the event of a lockout.
For many of them, that means turning their attention to the American Hockey League, which provides an opportunity to retain some sort of connection to their team even if the NHL season is derailed.
The extra attention certainly won't go unnoticed by the AHL who, in recent years, have taken steps to make in-roads into NHL markets in Canada by staging a number of regular-season games in NHL buildings.
Much of Fung's article discusses how the AHL would grow in Canada, where Canadian cities have focused on bringing and marketing AHL teams. The AHL, however, probably wouldn't be terribly in demand in the United States -- and a lockout would only further ruin hockey's popularity in the United States.
The AHL, though, does have three teams in Texas: the Houston Aeros, San Antonio Rampage, and Texas Stars, located in Cedar Park, Texas.
For the latest on the Stars and the lockout, be sure to check out Defending Big D.