Anticipation has been building since the summer of 2021 when ground first broke for the new Acrisure Arena located just off I-10 and Cook Street. The arena is the home of the Seattle Kraken’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate: our very own Coachella Valley Firebirds. As detailed on the arena’s website, the Firebird is a spiritual descendant of the Kraken, a creature born of myth and legend. The Kraken is hidden in the deep, dark ocean below while the Firebird rises out of the flames of the desert to soar high above.
With the arena’s opening on the horizon, the Coachella Valley Firebirds are set to rise above the desert sand on ice for their first home game on December 18, 2022. In the meantime, the Firebirds are playing on the road and exploded with a victorious start, winning their first-ever franchise game on October 16, 2022 in Calgary, Alberta. The Firebirds burned red hot with success by extinguishing their first two games with a win against their opponent, the Calgary Wranglers. “We started off on the right foot,” said assistant coach Stu Bickel. After a promising start and triumphant wins right out of the gate goal tending coach Colin Zulianello assures, “We take the game seriously and continue to learn from every game.”
Head coach Dan Bylsma is excited to be coaching the CV Firebirds and he sports an impressive background as a Stanley Cup winner with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and former head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Coaching is clearly a passion for Bylsma and he is honored to be coaching the CV Firebirds. “This team has really brought energy to the ice,” Bylsma stated.
With a diverse and strong team on and off ice, one member that stands out among the group is assistant coach Jessica Campbell, originally from the rural prairie town of Rocanville, Saskatchewan [Canada]. She brings invaluable skills to the CV Firebird team. As a successful collegiate and international hockey player and the first female assistant coach hired by the American Hockey League, Campbell is thrilled to be here. “Our team has layers of talent…we want to keep building and facing the challenges that come our way and we are all excited to be part of an amazing community,” she said.
Keep up to date with the CV Firebirds by downloading the CV Firebird app and tuning into their website at www.cvfirebirds.com
Acrisure Arena plans to host public skating and will also be home to concerts and other outstanding entertainment starting with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle on December 14th. Explore and stay up to date on all events coming to Acrisure by visiting www.acrisurearena.com/events.