The Seattle Kraken on Wednesday announced the organization’s plans for a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena for southern California’s Coachella Valley, which will serve as the home of the Kraken’s American Hockey League franchise beginning in 2022.
The project includes an adjacent training facility and community gathering spaces and will be privately funded and erected on land owned by the Frances C. Berger Foundation.
The announcement marks a new direction from a first concept presented in late 2019 that proposed an arena located on 16 acres of tribal land in downtown Palm Springs belonging to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, a federally recognized tribe. 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 the nine cities of Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Coachella.
Ground-breaking and arena construction are scheduled for 2021. The project will be complete during the last quarter of 2022 with the Kraken’s inaugural AHL Palm Springs franchise targeting to begin play in the 2022-23 season.
The Kraken are exploring all AHL affiliation options for when they begin play in the NHL in 2021-22.
“We’re excited the deal is done and Palm Springs will be our home for the AHL franchise,” said Seattle general manager Ron Francis. “We will be doing everything we need to do on the development front, from top to bottom, for the good of the organization. We will be engaged and in communication with every player in our organization.”
The Coachella Valley 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.
“After more than a year of good-faith negotiations we were unable to finalize an agreement with the Agua Caliente tribal leaders for OVG to lease, develop and operate the privately funded arena,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group. “We appreciate the ongoing support and encouragement from the community and are very pleased to be partnering with the Berger Foundation who share our vision for creating a world-class venue for the Coachella Valley and what will be one of the most premier music and professional sports arenas in the world.”