NHL Hockey Team in Palm Springs by the end of 2021. The American Hockey League announced Monday, the 32nd franchise was awarded to NHL Seattle and Oak View Group. Seattle’s developmental team will play at the new Agua Caliente Arena in Palm Springs.
AHL’s David Andrews said “Palm Springs has all the makings of an outstanding hockey market and will further strengthen the growing base of our sport in California.”
We were very fortunate the Agua Caliente Tribe jumped in and joined us as partners. We’re also fortunate we found a piece of land that’s as good as you could possibly find to build an arena. More than 100 people crowded into a small room inside the Palm Springs Convention Center to watch the official announcement of the new NHL Hockey Team in Palm Springs. Youth hockey players wore their jerseys and sat near the front row.
“On behalf of the AHL’s Board of Governors, I am thrilled to welcome the NHL Seattle and OVG ownership teams and the city of Palm Springs as the league’s 32nd franchise,” said the AHL’s David Andrews. “Palm Springs has all the makings of an outstanding hockey market and will further strengthen the growing base of our sport in California.”
“We always had a bit of an eye toward Palm Springs,” Tim Leiweke said. “Even at the beginning of the project, we were looking in Palm Springs and thought: One, an amazing point of destination market place. Two, a market place that for 30 years has been trying to find a sports team. And three, from a transportation standpoint and affordability standpoint and the ability to convince players and staff that they have to move here. This is a pretty good place to ultimately build a franchise.”
The $250 million project will break ground in early 2020 and open in the fall of 2021, the same time that Seattle’s NHL Hockey Team will begin play at their new arena at Seattle Center.
NHL Seattle General Manager Ron Francis will lead hockey operations for both organizations. The AHL says nearly 90% of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates.