PALM SPRINGS — In 2021, the Coachella Valley will get its first professional sports team. The American Hockey League has awarded its 32nd franchise to Palm Springs, which will take the ice  at the New Arena at Agua Caliente in Palm Springs.

Jeff L. Grubbe

Jeff L. Grubbe

“It’s something this valley hasn’t offered, said Jeff Grubbe, chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. “We have a lot of Canadians that come visit us throughout winter months. It’s just something new that we can offer. This is a very diverse community. We offer a lot of different things for a lot of different interests. Hockey will be a a new one that people normally don’t get to see. I think it will be a good opportunity for families, or adult who just want to hang out.  … It’s a competitive league. It’s going to be fun and exciting. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.”

American Hockey League (AHL) President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews announced Monday, Sept. 30 that the AHL Board of Governors has awarded an expansion franchise to NHL Seattle and Oak View Group.

The AHL’s 32nd team will be the primary development affiliate of NHL Seattle and will play at a new arena on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation in Palm Springs.

Hockey“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,” Andrews said in a prepared statement. “Palm Springs has all the makings of an outstanding hockey market and will further strengthen the growing base of our sport in California.”

The New Arena at Agua Caliente in Palm Springs is the first of its kind in downtown Palm Springs and will be an unmatched venue in the Coachella Valley for both music and sports, Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to partnering with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and NHL Seattle on this project.”

On Monday, AHL Palm Springs launched a ticket drive for season ticket deposits. By clicking here, fans can reserve general, club and suite locations. Season ticket memberships will include all AHL home games at the New Arena located at Agua Caliente in downtown Palm Springs.

The $250 million project will break ground in early 2020 and will open in the fall of 2021.

“We are so excited to bring the first professional sports team to the Coachella Valley,” Tod Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle, said. “This is an exciting time for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the greater Palm Springs area, as well as the hockey community and NHL Seattle. As we’re doing in Seattle, we will build a world-class organization that our fans will be proud to support.”

NHL Seattle and its AHL franchise will start playing in October 2021. General Manager Ron Francis will lead hockey operations for both organizations.

“Palm Springs is a great location, and this is a top-notch facility for our players in the American Hockey League,” said Francis. “It gives us the opportunity to fully develop and train all our prospects to reach the NHL while bringing hockey to another fantastic market.”

Image Sources

  • Jeff L. Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Hockey_interior: The Fearey Group for NHL Seattle
  • Hockey_exterior: The Fearey Group for NHL Seattle