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NHL in Houston? J.J. Watt says sign him up

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HOUSTON – Count J.J. Watt as a hockey fan who wants a National Hockey League team in Houston.

The Texans All-Pro was asked Wednesday about playing multiple sports growing up, including hockey.

"I've always said that one of the reasons I think I've gotten a chance to become a great athlete was because my parents taught me how to skate at the age of 3. So, I was learning how to balance on a razor-thin blade when I was 3 years old, and my body had to learn how to balance and adjust to that at such a young age," Watt said. "Playing multiple sports is huge. You get different coaches. You get different perspectives. You get to hang out with your friends, your teammates. It's fun. I wish I could still play multiple sports."

When asked if he could play another sport and be a two-sport athlete, Watt said hockey.

"I love hockey. I'm a huge hockey fan and I love to skate. I love playing," Watt said. "There's nothing like putting the puck in the back of the net."

He added he's probably too big to score anymore, but that he could be an enforcer.

"Maybe if we can get an NHL team here in Houston. If you know anybody let me know. I'd like to get in on that," Watt said.

When asked if he'd be an investor or a season ticket holder, he joked that he wants to be an owner.

"Just from a figurehead standpoint. I don't have that much money," Watt said. 

He then made a plea to Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who has previously expressed interest in bringing the NHL to Houston.

"Tilman, if you want to just give me the job, I'll take it," Watt said.

He said he still likes to lace up the skates at times.

A source confirmed to KPRC2 Sports last week that Fertitta recently met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about bringing an NHL team to Houston.

Among the reported possibilities would be the relocation of the Arizona Coyotes, Ottawa Senators or Florida Panthers, or even an expansion team.

The Coyotes seem to make the most sense given its arena issues and the fact that with Seattle's expansion entry, the Coyotes will move to the Central Division of the Western Conference, creating a natural rivalry with our Texas neighbors to the north, the Dallas Stars.

Seattle was recently awarded an NHL expansion team, the 32nd team in the league, which will begin play in 2021-22.

Houston has a long history of hockey. The Houston Aeros played in the American Hockey League -- basically the farm system of the NHL -- from 1994 until 2013, when the team moved to Iowa.

Before that, the Aeros played in the Western Hockey Association from 1972-1978. Many of the WHA teams eventually merged into the NHL.