It was announced today that a new team will indeed be moving into the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho for the 2010-2011 season.
But, it's not a hockey team that's moving in.
The Santa Ana Star Center will be home instead to the New Mexico Thunderbirds basketball team. The NBA Developmental League team, who had been making their home in Albuquerque as the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, will be the new tenant in Rio Rancho.
After losing the New Mexico Scorpions hockey franchise, the Santa Ana Star Center has been without a primary tenant. The reintroduction of a sports team into the venue is no doubt good news for the City of Rio Rancho, which has been losing money on the largely vacant events center.
The announcement that basketball has moved into the arena does not necessarily preclude a hockey team from co-existing in the same facility. In fact, hockey and basketball teams regularly and successfully share arenas both at the professional and minor league levels.
New Mexico's hockey fans will have to continue waiting in the hopes that hockey might also return to Rio Rancho next season.