A new sports and entertainment arena coming to Palm Springs may have its first named tenant.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reached an agreement with the Oak View Group, a venue development company, to construct a privately- financed, 300,000-square-foot arena on Agua Caliente land in downtown Palm Springs.
The arena could also be home to a new minor league hockey team — Oak View Group and the NHL Seattle franchise jointly submitted an application in June for an American Hockey League expansion team that would play at the arena beginning in fall 2021, tribal officials said.
On August 9th, a trademark application was filed by the Oak View Group for the new team’s name: The Palm Springs Firebirds.
According to Clark Rasmussen of DetroitHockey.net, “trademark filing was made by a lawyer with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which was the same firm that registered domains for possible Seattle team names on behalf of Oak View Group back in January of 2018. “Firebirds” was one of thirteen nicknames seemingly under consideration at that time, so there is an additional connection between this filing and that list.”
The NHL’s previous expansion with the Las Vegas Knights saw many registered trademarks filed, so this may just be the first of many for the Palm Springs team.
Also according to Rasmussen, “the timing of the filing is somewhat interesting as no marks for the Seattle NHL team have been filed. Prioritizing the branding of the AHL team over the NHL team would be somewhat surprising, though it could simply be a matter of the AHL team name being an easier choice. But it seems the Oak View Group found the name strong enough to protect it.”
The arena will be built to also accommodate conventions, large meetings, international events, as well as award shows and exhibitions, according to the tribe.
The arena will take up 16 acres of tribal land and feature as many as 10,000 seats, as well as suites, hospitality clubs and an adjoining facility that could serve as a “community gathering space” and training center for the proposed hockey team.
“Construction of the new arena in Palm Springs is expected to create thousands of permanent and temporary jobs for the community,” according to a statement issued by the tribe.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for February, and the arena is expected to open by fall 2021 in coordination with the expansion Seattle NHL franchise for the 2021-2022 AHL season, the tribe said.
“The new arena in downtown Palm Springs is a terrific project. If we are successful with our application for an AHL franchise, it would represent an exciting opportunity to bring the first professional hockey team to this region,” NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke said.
“We are confident that the market is ready to embrace a winter sports team and that the community will help us achieve the minimum level of season tickets and premium sales we need.”
The Agua Caliente band is already building the Agua Caliente Cultural Center in downtown Palm Springs, set to open in 2020, and is also planning a third casino in Cathedral City.