We have the name and branding for the Palm Springs AHL team debuting in the 2022-2023 season as an affiliate of the Seattle Kraken (NHL): Coachella Valley Firebirds.
The branding and name were unveiled by Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke near the construction site of the new arena in Palm Springs.
Here’s the inevitable backstory. The team, owned jointly by OVG and the Kraken ownership group led by David Bonderman, took its inspiration as a spiritual descendant of the Kraken—a creature born of myth and legend—where the Kraken is hidden in the deep dark ocean below, the Firebird rises out of the flames of the desert to soar high above. In this spirit, the Firebirds embody the yang to the Kraken’s yin, opposites that complete each other — fire and ice, sea and desert.
“Over the last two years, and after listening to fans, our leadership, and partners, we’ve been heavily involved in identifying the best team name and brand to represent the nine cities of the Coachella Valley,” Leiweke said via press release. “As a proud resident of the valley, I think the Firebirds has a meaningful representation for the beauty and what people experience when they come to our great community.”
The design of the bird uses a similar beveling technique as the Seattle Kraken’s “S” logo as another visual tie to the team’s parent NHL organization, which has further been carried out into the team’s wordmark. The secondary logo features a palm tree against a field of mountains, showcasing the iconic landscape of the Coachella Valley, and the palm tree features nine fronds, one for each city in the ValleyAdditionally, as part of its commitment to inclusivity, the primary and secondary Firebirds logos will be included in special color variants for friends, family, and neighbors in the LGBTQIA+ community.
The team partnered with Brian Gundell Graphic Design Co. to create the team brand. Gundell is an award-winning graphic designer, whose previous work includes developing the secondary logo for the Seattle Kraken, the new brand identity for the San Diego Padres, as well as the recent rebrand for the NCAA’s Sun Belt Conference.
Located on 43.35 acres of land at I-10 and Cook Street, in Riverside County on land owned by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, the new Coachella Valley arena will be more than 300,000 square feet and feature 11,000-plus seats and include modern suites and premium hospitality clubs. It will be the home of the Seattle Kraken’s American Hockey League (AHL) team and will include an adjoining facility that will serve as a year-round community gathering space and the training center for the AHL team. The arena is projected to open in the last quarter of 2022.
In anticipation of today’s announcement Oak View Group had announced he appointment of four executives at Coachella Valley Arena. Joining OVG is Shannon Miller as vice president, branding and community relations; Phillip Ransford as vice president, operations; Rich Franklin as senior director, corporate partnerships; and Arturo Aviles as community engagement manager.
“We are proud to welcome so many new, talented professionals to our quickly growing team at the arena,” said John Bolton, senior vice president of entertainment – facilities (OVG) & general manager, Coachella Valley Arena, via press release. “As we continue to move closer to our grand opening in late 2022, each of their contributions will be instrumental to helping shape our success as well as building strong, meaningful, and authentic relationships with the community.”
Former Olympic head hockey coach Shannon Miller joins OVG as vice president of branding and community relations for Coachella Valley Arena and the AHL hockey team, where she will help build and grow the brand, as well as integrate the brand discussion into the larger conversation of supporting the team and arena. Providing professional representation for the building of the new arena, the hockey team, and business operations, Miller will assist with the recruitment of talent to support the overall mission and goals of the AHL team and arena, and their business operation in meeting financial goals and objectives.
Phillip Ransford comes to OVG as vice president of operations for Coachella Valley Arena where he will oversee the hockey ice, parking, event production, and readiness, maintenance, and functionality of the arena and grounds. He will report directly to Bolton. Before joining OVG, Ransford served since 2017 as director of event management at the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission for The Dome at America’s Center. He previously served as the interim director of building operations for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues for four years and was director of operations for the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, LA.
Rich Franklin joins OVG as senior director of corporate partnerships. In his new role, he will work closely with the OVG Global Partnerships team to sell corporate partnerships for both Coachella Valley Arena and the Coachella Valley AHL hockey team.
Franklin will report to Ryan Brach, SVP of Global Partnerships West in Los Angeles. Before joining OVG, Franklin worked for the past ten years as vice president of corporate partnerships for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League where he was responsible for overseeing the sales of team sponsorships.
Arturo Aviles comes aboard as community engagement manager for Coachella Valley Arena where he will be responsible for building and maintaining strong relationships with the nine cities and their constituents that make up the Coachella Valley. In addition to managing outreach to the community during the pre-construction and building phases in regards to construction, noise, and business interruptions, Aviles will represent Coachella Valley Arena at community meetings, city and county events, and speaking engagements. Prior to joining OVG, Aviles served as treasurer for the City of Coachella. Aviles holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s in instructional technology and design.