The Coachella Valley Firebirds, starting up this season as the American Hockey League affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, will be on display for four times for the Pacific Northwest.
The Firebirds announced four “neutral site” home games as part of their 72-game regular season schedule to accommodate continued construction of the Southern California desert-based Acrisure Arena, opening for hockey on December 13.
Climate Pledge Arena, home ice of the Kraken, will host one of the four Seattle-based games with a Saturday, Oct. 23 date set at 6pm PT against the Abbotsford Canucks, farm team of the Vancouver franchise. The game will be a special anniversary date in the hockey sense: it will be exactly one year on the date after the Kraken hosted their historic and inaugural home opener, entertaining a sellout crowd despite a 4-2 loss to Vancouver.
The Firebirds, who will be led behind the bench by newly appointed head coach Dan Bylsma and assistant coach Jessica Campbell, are set to see the return of former Seattle Thunderbirds center Alex True, who led AHL Charlotte with 42 points in 60 games and earned an eight-game call-up with the Kraken last season.
Other potential notable players include defenseman Ryker Evans, a candidate to make the Kraken roster at age 20 but eligible to start in the AHL with the Firebirds. Center Andrew Poturalski is the reigning back-to-back scoring leader in the AHL and was a part of the Chicago Wolves run to the Calder Cup title last season as captain, who signed a two-year, one-way deal with the Kraken in July.
Unless he is needed at the NHL level, he is set to steer the Firebirds as their top line center.
An outpost of hockey’s developing roots in the Puget Sound will also serve as host. Everett, Wash. and 8,149-seat Angel of the Winds Arena, home ice of the major junior power Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, will play host to the Firebirds and Calgary Wranglers on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7pm PT.
For many, it may be the final chance this year to see the Kraken farm team in the region until they relocate permanently to California – two other games will be played at Kraken Community Iceplex. Both are sold out.
The contest in Everett could also potentially line up a homecoming from Silvertips roots. The Wranglers, playing as the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames, are led by head coach Mitch Love, a former defenseman, captain, and assistant coach of the Silvertip whose jersey number hangs from the rafters of the 19-year old venue.
Wranglers goaltender Dustin Wolf, last season’s AHL Goaltender of the Year as a 21-year-old rookie, emerged as Carter Hart’s successor with the Silvertips, spent four years with the Everett program and won the top Canadian Hockey League goaltending award two years ago.
The Firebirds' two games at Kraken Community Iceplex will be held with 3pm face-offs on Oct. 21 against Abbotsford and Oct. 29 against Calgary.
The Oct. 29 game between the Firebirds and Wranglers will have a limited ticket distribution lottery event held before game day, available to Kraken and Firebirds season ticket holders.
The Kraken said for the Oct. 23 Firebirds game at Climate Pledge Arena and Oct. 28 game in Everett will go on sale next Monday, Aug. 22 at 10am PT via Ticketmaster.