"And Then You Sit Alone in the Box and Feel Shame"
The newly unnamed NHL expansion team in Seattle has announced that their newly unnamed AHL affiliate will be located in that hotbed of hockey, Palm Springs, California. The beautiful new 10,055 seat, for hockey, privately funded arena, is being built by another huge hockey fan base, the Agua Caliente Indian Tribe. The whole thing seems sure fire.
(Artist rendering of the outside view.)
(And the inside seating area.)
Games will be played on Friday and Sunday, because there is nothing else going on then in Palm Springs. You've got tens of thousands of Canadians down here at any given time vacationing who supposedly all love hockey and are expected to flock to games, if they can drag themselves away from golf, tennis, gambling, hiking, swimming, and non-stop partying.
Of course the local fan base, many of whom are from the Midwest and also love hockey, will be lining up for season tickets, just as soon as they are finished golfing, playing pickleball, going to happy hour, and figuring out how to stay up past 7:30 to go to the games.
Indoctrination has already begun with many in the local media happily passing along little nuggets of hockey information like, the ice they play on is nothing like that found in your bloody mary. You score goals not points. There are three periods not innings, and of course there is a difference between a goal and a goalie.
Once we learn this important information, I mean the rest of the hockey terminology like, offsides, icing, face-offs, etc should be simple. How hard will it be to follow the puck, that round black thingy the men are pushing along the ice with those funny stick things.
Play is expected to start in the fall of 2021, once the tribe and the city, county, and state can come to an agreement on parking, traffic flow, what insects they are allowed to wipe out in building this arena, and other earth sensitive stuff that only California can dream up as roadblocks to business.
If the current excitement level from locals is any indication, as they wait for team names and colors, I would suggest an appropriate name would be crickets and the team colors should be beige.
Excuse me while I yawn.
I'm actually their target audience. I love hockey. I'm looking forward to this team playing here. I expect to attend at least two games a year and I will not be buying any team related merchandise. Did I mention I love hockey? Imagine the uphill battle this team has to reach the casual fan?
This arena will also be used for concerts, conventions, and who knows what else to try to increase revenue. Pull out your Paul Anka memorabilia! I wonder when the Racoon Lodge will be holding their yearly convention here?
For those of you unfamiliar with the downtown Palm Springs area, the location for this still unnamed area, (Geritol Hall?), will be close to the Agua Caliente Casino and Spa and smack dab in the middle of a quiet, for now, residential neighborhood.
Neighbors, as you can imagine, are thrilled at the prospect of locals, and visitors alike, racing down their streets in their scooters and walkers, yelling to each other, "what?", "where the hell are you going so fast?", "I think I left my oxygen tank in the bathroom!".
Unlike other neighborhood stadiums and arenas across America, one thing they won't have to worry about is people using their yards as toilets since most of the fan base is already using depends.
Local police say they can handle the influx of traffic themselves since nobody will be driving more than 5 MPH anyway. At the end of each game it is expected to take only 7 hours for everyone to reach their cars and exit the area.
I'm honestly blown away that Seattle picked Palm Springs to be the location for their team. Maybe the owner has a winter home down here? It will be interesting to see if this team catches on and if they draw more than 400 people after the first week. I'm hopeful, but dubious about any long term success.