AHL awards expansion franchise to Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — Professional hockey is coming to the Southern California desert.

The minor league American Hockey League has awarded an expansion franchise to NHL Seattle that will play at a new arena on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation in downtown Palm Springs.

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

The AHL’s 32nd team will be the primary development affiliate of NHL Seattle. Both the Seattle NHL team and its AHL franchise will begin play in October 2021.

Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group which owns the Seattle NHL franchise, says the new arena will host sports and music events. It will seat 10,000.

AHL Palm Springs launched season ticket sales Monday.

Palm Springs will be the sixth California team in the AHL, joining Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose and Stockton.