Kraken AHL affiliate facing Hershey in Final, calling for chocolate boycott

Hershey Candy Characters at Hershey Chocolate World

Hershey, Pennsylvania- October 15, 2021: Hershey Candy Characters Greet Visitors at Hershey's Chocolate World EntrancePhoto: Getty Images

It’s proven scientifically that chocolate, in solid form, doesn’t stand a chance in desert heat. 

The Coachella Valley Firebirds are taking a creative approach to their upcoming Calder Cup Final series, looking to melt the last four wins. The AHL affiliate of the Kraken, whose opponent hails from the well-known “Chocolate Town,” have launched a chocolate boycott campaign  ahead of their best-of-seven series, opening Thursday against the Hershey Bears at Acrisure Arena. 

The requested ban involves removal of all chocolate-infused food and beverages in the Coachella Valley, including candy bars, milk, ice cream, donuts, and cookies. 

“Fans craving chocolate should hold off until the end of the Calder Cup Final,” the Firebirds said in a news release. 

There are plenty of alternatives, if you ask Firebirds broadcast voice and team spokesman Evan Pivnick.

What about ice cream flavors?

"I would say vanilla, strawberry, and an underrated flavor: birthday cake (or) cake batter," Pivnick said in an e-mail to 93.3 KJR-FM.

"Unfortunately, my ultimate number one, Tillamook chocolate chip cookie dough, will have to wait a few weeks."

The upcoming series puts the Firebirds within four victories of claiming a Calder Cup title in their expansion season, which would secure a major milestone for the growth of the Kraken prospect pipeline that has top-end prospects such as Ryker Evans, Shane Wright, Tye Kartye, and Joey Daccord competing for a championship. It is the first time an AHL expansion team has appeared in the championship round in 13 years, last accomplished by the Texas Stars (who, coincidentally, lost to Hershey). 

It's also a battle between the newest AHL franchise, and the oldest, though you can’t accuse the Firebirds of operating from the coach’s office akin to a spring chicken. Head coach Dan Bylsma brings in a Stanley Cup title, won in Pittsburgh back in 2008-09, and eight years of NHL head coaching experience while earning the Jack Adams Award in 2010-11. 

The Firebirds, who own the top five slots in league playoff scoring, will be opposed by Bears seasoned head coach Todd Nelson, owning two coaching stints in the NHL with Dallas and Edmonton while boasting eight years of AHL head coaching experience, and a Calder Cup title with Grand Rapids (Detroit’s affiliate) six years ago. 

Daccord’s counterpart in net will be stiff competition. Hunter Shepard has played every game in net for Hershey, tied for third in the postseason with a .929 save percentage. 

The puck will drop in Coachella Valley for game one on Thursday at 7pm PT.  

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