Unfortunately, Houston lost the Aeros a few years ago. Attendance was pretty good for an AHL team, but the Rockets, who hold the master lease at the Toyota Center, wanted a massive rent increase over the already ridiculous rent, and there weren’t any other suitable venues in Houston, so the Wild (who owned the Aeros) had to move the team.
Houston is a huge market, of course, and might be able to support an NHL franchise despite the fact that hockey isn’t really that popular down here. The problem is the Rockets—they control the only NHL-level venue in Houston, and they have the right to exclude any hockey team they don’t own from the arena. To date, they have shown no interest in either owning an NHL franchise or allowing one to use the Toyota Center.
I used to go to Hurricanes games all the time when I lived in Raleigh (and worked for them back in college), and I used to go to Aeros games here in Houston until they left. Now there is no hockey in Houston, and as this article highlights, there may be no hockey in Raleigh soon.