The Seattle Kraken revealed the name of its upcoming American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate on Friday. Set to drop the puck at Coachella Valley Arena in 2022, the newly-named Coachella Valley Firebirds will serve as the development team for the Kraken starting next season. The Firebirds are expected to be an overwhelming success, with 3,000 season ticket deposits already confirmed for the 10,000-seat arena.
Professional Hockey is Coming to Coachella Valley
The Firebirds are the first professional sports team in the Coachella Valley. In preparation for its debut, the brand-new Coachella Valley Arena is set to open late next year and will serve as home ice to the Firebirds, along with music concerts and major events. The arena’s website deems it as “the next crown jewel of sports and entertainment.”
Coachella Valley’s logo uses dark blue, red and orange and displays a firebird breathing fire with both wings shaping upwards to form a circular shape. The team uses the same font as its NHL-affiliate Kraken, with “Coachella Valley” displayed above a larger-font “Firebirds” in its wordmark. The team continues the theme of using fictional creatures, making it a perfect pairing with the Kraken.
Kraken Prospects to Continue Playing in Charlotte Until Coachella Valley is Ready
The Firebirds won’t take to the ice until next season, so Kraken prospects will continue sharing the Charlotte Checkers AHL team with the Florida Panthers for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. Multiple players are finding success in Charlotte, including team-leading points-getter Alex True, who has eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games.
Next season, the Kraken will move its prospects to the Firebirds full-time, no longer using the Checkers to develop its players. Dan Bylsma is expected to be the head coach after being named assistant coach for Charlotte ahead of this season. It’s an exciting time for the Kraken organization as it continues to expand its hockey brand and gets ready to open yet another state-of-the-art facility, this time in Southern California.
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.