The NHL’s newest expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, revealed that Oak View Group and the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation have announced plans to build a privately funded, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena, with an adjacent training facility and community gathering spaces, in the Coachella Valley. The arena will serve as home to the Kraken’s AHL Palm Springs affiliate team. A first concept, presented in late 2019, proposed an arena located on 16 acres of tribal land in downtown Palm Springs belonging to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The new plan centrally locates the arena to make AHL games and a world-class lineup of musical acts and family entertainment more accessible to fans across all nine major cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Coachella).
The arena complex will be located on 43-plus acres of land at Interstate 10 and Cook Street in Riverside County near the city of Palm Desert. The arena will be more than 300,000 square feet and feature 10,000-plus seats plus modern suites and premium hospitality clubs. The arena and adjacent facility will serve as a year-round community gathering space in addition to the training center for the AHL team and a future site for youth hockey, figure skating, adult skating and other community-friendly activities. Live Nation, the world's leading live entertainment company, will work as a strategic partner to also supply the arena with its large stable of top touring artists and premium live events. In addition to sports and entertainment, the arena will accommodate conventions, large meetings, international events, award shows and exhibitions at no risk to Riverside County taxpayers. Construction of the new arena is expected to create hundreds of permanent and temporary jobs for the community
Ground-breaking and arena construction are scheduled for 2021, with completion currently scheduled for the last quarter of 2022. The Kraken's AHL Palm Springs franchise is targeting to begin play in the 2022-23 season. Kraken general manager Ron Francis and assistant GM Ricky Olczyk are exploring all options for finding other competition options for a certain number of reserve players during the 2021-22 NHL season, including the possibility of sharing an AHL roster with another NHL team. Olczyk also explained all 18- and 19-year-old players selected by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Amateur Draft who don't make the NHL roster are required to return to their Tier A or Tier B junior hockey teams, NCAA college hockey teams or, in the case of European youngsters, respective teams in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany and several more nations on that continent. The rule encourages further development of young players' growing body and hockey skills.
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