It seems one major arena construction project isn’t enough for the ownership group of the future Seattle NHL franchise. A report out of NBC Palm Springs in California states that the group has submitted a bid and $5MM application fee, along with their partners, the Oak View Group, to the AHL for an expansion franchise in the city. The Palm Springs team would be the 32nd member of the AHL, like Seattle will be to the NHL, and would have their arena ready for a 2021-22 debut, just like their parent club.
According to NBC, the Oak View Group is one of several partners working to bring a state-of-the-art arena complex to Palm Springs. The main draw will be the 10,000-seat arena, which the Seattle group hopes to call home for their AHL affiliate. It will also play host to a number of musical performances through partner Live Nation. Additionally, the complex will also have an attached convention hall, as well as a proposed training facility for the Palm Springs team.
An entirely privately-funded venture that requires no action from taxpayers, nor the NHL or AHL, the facility is likely to be completed, regardless of the decision. However, it seems to be an easy call for the AHL, who would otherwise be outnumbered by NHL teams once Seattle enters the league. With several other teams in California as is – San Diego, Ontario, Bakersfield, San Jose, and Stockton – the geography also makes sense. Assuming the bid outlines a sound plan and proper financial backing for the arena, it seems likely that Palm Springs will have its first pro hockey team come 2021.