With the American Hockey League’s Henderson Silver Knights officially unveiling their name and logo last week and no announcement in sight for the National Hockey League’s Seattle expansion franchise (though I’d be shocked if it wasn’t some form of “Seattle Kraken” at this point), I decided to dig a little further into Seattle’s farm team in Palm Springs, CA, and see if there was anything new.
Somewhat surprisingly, there was, with “Palm Springs Firebirds” having been saved from the trademark trash heap.
After a flurry of domain registrations and trademark filings last August, Firebirds seemed like the front-runner for the new AHL team’s name, over options such as Eagles, Hawks, Sun, Dragons, and Falcons. The team’s temporary web site ran with the slogan “We’ve got the fire, now bring on the ice.”
However, on November 12, 2019, the trademark filing for Palm Springs Firebirds was rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office, due to the name’s similarity to that of the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds. Overnight, the slogan became “We’ve got the heat, now bring on the ice,” and the team’s direction seemed to have changed. The trademark for Palm Springs Hawks was abandoned but the remaining four all made it through the registration process (though, in a league with the Colorado Eagles, Palm Springs Eagles would never actually be an option).
On May 11, 2020, one day before the six month limit on responding to the rejection of their Firebirds application, the Palm Springs organization did file a response. Included was permission from the Flint Firebirds to use the name. This update was accepted by the USPTO a day later and approved to be published for opposition (the final step in a trademark filing and likely a rubber stamp with the Flint Firebirds on board) on June 2.
With Firebirds an option once again, and given the effort that went into making it such, I think we might just be seeing the Palm Springs Firebirds in the AHL’s 2021-22 season.