The NHL may be moving into Seattle, but the AHL is headed to Palm Springs. The minor league Board of Governors announced today that the Seattle expansion group has been granted an AHL franchise located in Palm Springs, California that will begin playing in the 2021-22 season. AHL President David Andrews released a short statement:
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. Palm Springs has all the makings of an outstanding hockey market, and will further strengthen the growing base of our sport in California.
The team will give California another professional hockey team to continue the strong footprint the sport has developed across the state, while also providing another Pacific Division team for the AHL. Getting their own AHL affiliate from the very beginning was a priority for the Seattle group, who will use it to develop their young talent after they enter the league.
Minor league reporter Mark Divver tweets that the Palm Springs team will likely be allowed two additional veteran slots in their first year, also giving the Seattle team a chance to stock up on depth in the expansion draft and provide the AHL club with some experience and skill right from the beginning.