The American Hockey League announced Monday that NHL Seattle and the Oak View Group has been awarded the 32nd AHL franchise to be NHL Seattle’s minor league affiliate. The franchise will play in a new arena located on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation in Palm Springs, California slated to open September 2021.
This should not come as a surprise to those of you who have been following along for the last 12 months. Palm Springs was identified as one of two final locations that NHL Seattle was narrowing in on when Dave Tippett identified them with Boise, Idaho as the two potential destinations back in February.
Three months ago, that list was narrowed down to one when the NHL Seattle group officially submitted an expansion application to the AHL for the Palm Springs location.
NHL Seattle General Manager, Ron Francis released the following statement via Press Release:
“Palm Springs is a great location, and this is a top-notch facility for our players in the American Hockey League. It gives us the opportunity to fully develop and train all our prospects to reach the NHL while bringing hockey to another fantastic market.”
Locating the team in Palm Springs regionally aligns with several of the west coast AHL affiliates. Several months ago I performed an analysis on the simulated travel of an AHL team located in Tacoma, Boise, and Palm Springs. It is clear when looking at this visual that certainly one of the benefits of locating the AHL team in Palm Springs cuts down on travel.